Patti Rizzo, a collegiate All-American at the University of Miami and a 20-year veteran on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, is in her fourth year as head coach of the University of Miami women's golf team.
In her first two years, Rizzo guided the Hurricanes to eight Top 10 finishes and a final 2011-12 ranking of No. 59, up from No.112 prior to the start of the season. Her coaching success off the course is just as impressive. For the second straight year the UM women's golf program has been recognized for their academic achievements by the NCAA, by placing themselves in the Top 10 percent of the annual Academic Progress Rate (APR).
In her third season, Rizzo led the Hurricanes to an NCAA West Regional berth, their first NCAA postseason trip since 2005. The Canes finished 21st out of 24 teams in Stanford, Calif. The Canes posted six top-five finishes in 2012-13, including a fifth-place showing at the ACC Championship, which tied for the program's best finish. Sophomore Leticia Ras-Anderica earned All-ACC honors, becoming the first Canes golfer to do so since 2011.
The 2011-12 season saw a freshmen-laden team, led by Ras-Anderica and Rika Park, finish in the Top 10 five times including a 54-hole first place tie with then No.16 Ohio State University at the Hurricane Invitational. Under Rizzo's tutelege her first recruiting class led the team the entire season in stroke average and by the end of the season saw two of the three newcomers earn selections into the NCAA post-season - Ras-Anderica and Park.The team finished the regular-season ranked No.59 in the Golfstat.com poll, its highest final regular-season ranking since 2004 where they ranked No.42.
Rizzo was hired by then Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt as the coach of the Hurricanes on April 28, 2010, taking over the five-time national championship program. Rizzo spent the previous five seasons as the head coach of the Barry University women's golf program, where she coached the Bucs to four consecutive NCAA DII Regional appearances and two national tournament appearances. Barry has finished several recent seasons ranked in the Top 10 nationally - sixth nationally in 2009, fourth nationally in 2008, seventh nationally in 2007 and eighth nationally in 2006. During the 2009-10 season, the Bucs finished fourth at the SSC Championship to advance to the NCAA DII Super Regional, where they received the fifth seed.
"I'm extremely excited," Rizzo said upon being hired. "I've been dreaming of this opportunity. I started my career at the University of Miami and things have come full circle where I have the chance to finish up where I started. I am so appreciative of the support from my family, friends and the people at Miami. I am just so thrilled to be back."
Rizzo brings outstanding amateur, collegiate and professional experience to the position. Her amateur career was highlighted by a near win at the 1981 Florida Lady Citrus in Orlando, where she almost became the first amateur since JoAnne Carner (1969) to win an LPGA event. She finished regulation play in a five-way tie for first-place. Rizzo won the World Amateur, Trans-National, Eastern Amateur and Mexican Amateur in 1980 and the North & South Amateur Championship, the South Atlantic Amateur Golf Championship and the Harder Hall Invitational in 1981.
She also claimed medalist honors at the 1981 U.S. Women's Amateur, as well as at the 1980 and 1981 AIAW National Championships. A 1981 collegiate All-American at the University of Miami, she was Golf Digest's top-ranked amateur in the country in 1980 and Golf Magazine's top-ranked collegiate player in 1981.
In 1982, she joined the LPGA full-time and was named the circuit's Rookie-of-the-Year, with five top-10 finishes, including fourth-place at the Arizona Copper Classic. In 1983, she won her first LPGA tournament at the Boston Five Classic and posted six additional top-10 finishes. Rizzo played on the tour regularly for 10 years, posting four tournament wins: the 1983 Boston Five Classic, the 1985 LPGA Corning Classic, the 1988 Sara Lee Classic and the 1989 Red Robin Kyocera Inamori Classic. She still holds her LPGA Tour card, but after a brief two-year retirement, she returned to play part-time on the LPGA and Legends Tours during summer of 2006.
Rizzo has two children – one son Sevi (17) and one daughter Gabriela (15).