It’s been a year of homecomings for Rend Lake College athletics as three of the college’s programs have seen former players come in to take up head coaching responsibilities with their former squads. Now, with the retirement of RLC Women’s Golf Coach and Professor Cindy Corn, former Warrior links star Danielle Kaufman is making that number four.
Kaufman is a former Warrior golf standout to the tune of two RLC Athletic Hall of Fame inductions, Region XXIV Medalist honors and Third-Team All-America honors. She has been back with the college serving as the Warrior Softball Assistant Coach for the past two seasons and also manages the RLC Golf Outlet at the MarketPlace Campus. Now, she will be assuming the mantle of Head Women’s Golf Coach.
“I’ve been working with the softball team. That’s another passion of mine. Cindy was retiring, and it ended up that I was the best fit for the position given my background and history with the college both as a player and a coach,” she said.
“I’m very happy to be in this position, and I’m really looking forward to what I can do for the program. I’m excited to see where I can take it.”
Kaufman has the unique experience of working with two of the most prolific coaches in Rend Lake College’s history. Cindy Corn helmed a perennial contender on the links and served as a mentor to Kaufman when she was both a player, and later an assistant coach (2009-12), with the Women’s Golf program.
On the softball diamond, Kaufman has served as the right hand of Dave Ellingsworth for the past two seasons, getting to see the 24-year veteran in action. She also worked with Ellingsworth when she was a student at RLC.
“They are both kind of different in their own ways,” Kaufman said with a grin. “I’m looking forward to taking some of the lessons from Dave and lessons from Cindy and using them to build on my own coaching style. Learning from two of the best coaches at RLC has been great.”
It’s been a big year for Kaufman in the realm of athletics. After a team induction to the RLC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014, the former Warrior golfer notched her own plaque on the wall this year with an individual induction. Since the inaugural class in 2000, only a select handful of others have been inducted both individually and part of a team.
“I’m really looking forward to trying to do the same for my student athletes for years to come,” expressed Kaufman. “I’d love for my team to have the kind of achievements that make them hall of famers as well. I am eager to cultivate that success in our athletes.
“Being a former player is going to help me relate to them what’s happening. Every level is different. This level will be a lot different than high school. Anyone who goes on to the four-year level is going to see a different game than they experience here. So, for those players that are going to go on, I have that experience that I can help them grow into the players they need to be to complete at that next level.”
Kaufman has already hit the ground running in her new role.
She said she has already reached out to her returning players and is in the recruitment process to fill out slots left behind by last year’s graduates.
“I’m going to really be focused on motivating the team. I want to try and build as much confidence as I can. I’m very versed in helping players develop their swing and helping them become the most accurate golfer they can be. We are really going to be working on eliminating missed hits. If we get them confident and work on eliminating the bad swings, we are going to have success,” she explained.
Prior to coming back to RLC, she was a Golf/Teaching Pro for Indian Ridge Golf Club in Oxford, Ohio, when she was hired in March 2014 as the Women’s Coach at Indiana University East.
In addition to her coaching responsibilities, she will also continue to manage and maintain the RLC Golf Outlet at the MarketPlace Campus as well as teaching golf lessons to community members, duties she has maintained since returning to the college in 2015.
The Lady Warrior Golf team will have three returning players this season. Kaufman has a few fresh faces already lined out for this year’s team and also has a few prospects she is actively recruiting.
“I’m just super excited. I can’t wait to get started and see what the team can bring to the table,” Kaufman said.