By Fred Schernecker '89
Claire Sheldon's '10 term as assistant coach for the women's golf team came to a close this spring. Claire set a high standard in the program both as a player and as a coach.
When Claire arrived on campus in the fall of 2006 (after earning a mind-boggling 14 varsity letters at Milton Academy), she quickly raised the level of effort and expectation for all team members. Claire's on-course performance was a primary contributor to the success of the team. We won our first ever Ivy League Championship during Claire's sophomore year and then repeated that accomplishment the following year. Claire earned first team All-Ivy honors both years. She led our program from being a contender to being the best program in the Northeast. Upon graduation, Claire had the second lowest career scoring average in team history, the lowest single round score (68; 4-under par) in a tournament round, and the most individual tournament wins.
Claire was elected captain of the team by her peers in her senior year and was an excellent leader who consistently looked for ways to improve the team. She placed the team performance ahead of her own individual success and worked hard to get everyone working together for team success. She led by example and held all team members to her high expectations for them. As a result of her contributions, Claire was awarded the Mary G. Paget Prize for the senior who contributed the most to Harvard Women's Athletics.
Claire also had success beyond the collegiate level. In the summer of 2009, Claire qualified to play in the pre-eminent amateur golf event in the United States – the USGA Women's Amateur Championship. In 2008, Claire won the Massachusetts Women's State Amateur Championship; a feat she repeated in 2012.
We are fortunate that all of the pieces came together for Claire to become the women's assistant coach for the past three years. Claire's accomplishments as a golfer and a successful Harvard student-athlete brought her immediate legitimacy as a coach in the program. Additionally, having learned the game from Coach Rhoads, she was able to build a consistent message to the team members. Under her leadership, the team has continued to improve our tournament scoring average and set a new bar within the Ivy League by winning four straight Ivy League Championships.
Claire's passions lie in helping individuals and teams succeed. She has gravitated to coaching, teaching, and admissions roles, which allow her to have a direct and meaningful impact at the individual level. It is no surprise that Claire has been a valued mentor and role model for the team members.
We all wish Claire continued success as she moves to the next chapter of her career as founder of Prospective Student-Athlete College Counseling. We know that the students she will mentor through their college selection process will be fortunate to have a highly principled, caring, knowledgeable, and experienced guide.
It won't be possible to "replace" Claire. We hope that she will remain close to the program. We are excited for Claire and the next phase of her life.
Fred Schernecker '89
The Paul M. Weissman Director of Harvard Golf
Head Coach of Men's & Women's Golf