After coming off its best in conference finish since 2002, coach Brian Quinn is adding another piece to the puzzle as the Temple golf team enter its inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference.
Incoming freshman Evan Notaro, who hails from Northhampton High School in Lehigh Valley, is Quinn’s main recruit in the 2013 class.
After a lengthy recruiting process in which Notaro had a plethora of institutions to choose from, the young right-hander says he chose Temple because of the vast amount of opportunities available on the golf course and in the classroom.
“Coach Quinn is definitely one of the main reasons that I was very interested in the school,” Notaro said. “Also, education wise, I want to study business and I think Temple has like 21 business majors if I’m correct. Golf and business go hand in hand.”
“I’m really looking forward to improving, especially with my golf game,” Notaro added. “I’m also looking forward to the education because its probably going to be much different than high school and I’m just looking forward to starting a career and getting out in the real world, making money and stuff like that.”
Aside from Temple, Notaro was also considering Columbia, Fordham, Hofstra, Lafayette and Davidson.
Notaro’s appreciation for the sport started at an early age and once he realized that he possessed a unique skill set, Notaro approached the game intently.
“I had plastic clubs when I was two years old,” Notaro said. But my admiration for golf probably started around 12 or 13. I started doing junior tournaments and then I started winning them and it was really exciting and I wanted to go somewhere with it.”
It was Notaro’s play throughout high school and during junior tournaments that caught the attention of Quinn.
“Evan, I’ve been looking at for the last couple of years,” Quinn said. “Super smart kid, could have gone anywhere for college and he’s come to us. [Notaro is] a really good kid and a hard worker, so I’m looking forward to him playing for us.
Sophomore Brandon Matthews, who was honored as the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year and earned All-Conference Team honors this past spring, reportedly played a big influence in bringing Notaro to North Broad Street.
“As soon Brandon went down there he was telling me how he loved coach Quinn and that he was the best coach he has ever worked with,” Notaro said. “I was just like, ‘Wow, I got to go see what its like.’ I tried him out and I just loved the guy as soon as I met him, so Brandon was a big influence.”
The transition from high school to the college ranks will not be a piece of cake, says Quinn. Balancing the in-season golf schedule, along with schoolwork presents its challenges.
“There’s a huge transition for these kids,” Quinn said. “What people don’t realize is how hard the travel is for these kids that play golf. You’re on the road basically from Wednesday to Sunday. They’re missing a lot of school, they’re doing all of their studies, they’re tutoring online. We’re playing five or six weeks in the fall and five or six weeks in the spring. It’s a lot of travel, so it’s a big, big change for these incoming freshman.”
With Matthews and junior Matt Teesdale shouldering the load, Quinn says that Temple golf is one consistent performer away from being a legitimate contender in college golf, and Notaro could turn out to be a pivotal player.
Quinn said, “[Notaro] has worked really hard on his swing. I’m looking forward to him making his arrival. We desperately need a four and a five guy to step up. If we do that, I think we can compete with just about any team in the country. If we have a solid four or five guy, with Brandon Matthews and Matt Teesdale driving the ship, I think we could be a really, really solid golf team.
“He’s a point A, point B golfer,” Quinn added. “He’s a good ball striker. I think he’s going to be that consistent guy that we desperately need. We need a consistent guy who can come in here and shoot 71 to 73, 74 for us. If we had that guy last year we probably win seven tournaments.”
Notaro notices the strengths in his game, but also realizes there are areas he must improve on in order for him to be a strong performer as a true freshman.
“Right now my strength is my short game. I’ve gone through a swing change to improve and right now my short game is just amazing, I’ve gotten a lot of practice with it,” Notaro said.
“Most of the longer shots I need to improve on. The shorter shots, shorter clubs I have more control over. Definitely longer clubs. Not as straight as I’d like it to be but it’s coming.”
The fall 2013 schedule has not yet been released for the golf team, but if last year’s tournament lineup is any indication, Notaro will give his debut performance as an Owl in mid-September.