UC Ties Run Deep For Freshman Moir|
Oct. 20, 2011
By Shawn Sell
High school students make their college decisions for a variety of different reasons. Some want to get far away from home; others want to stay close. Some go for a specific course of study or a chance to compete in collegiate athletics. When it came time for UC freshman golfer Mackenzie Moir to make her college selection, she followed "that feeling," one that took her to a familiar place for her family.
Mackenzie is the daughter of Rick and Donna (Bender) Moir, the latter a graduate and two-sport student-athlete at the University of Cincinnati. Nowadays, Donna Moir is the Athletic Director and Head Girl's Basketball Coach at Louisville's Sacred Heart Academy, her high school alma mater. Much like her daughter some 30 years later, Donna had a choice to make for college and ultimately accepted a full basketball scholarship to UC where she enrolled in 1979. Like today, UC was on an academic quarter system back then, which afforded Donna the opportunity to also join the golf team, prior to the start of the hoops season.
"Carol Johnson was my (golf) coach when I went up there and I don't know how I graduated playing golf and basketball now that I look back at it," she recalls with a laugh. "Because UC had the late start time, I went up there like three or four weeks early and we did the golf tournaments and once school started, I got into basketball conditioning and practice."
That best laid plan worked for the first two years as Donna competed on the links in the fall and enjoyed success on the basketball court during the winter. But after her sophomore year, UC eliminated golf as a varsity sport, leaving her with just basketball. On the court, Donna enjoyed a reputation as a sharp shooter and super sub, even dubbed by Coach Ceal Berry as "instant offense." But when her junior year on the court wrapped up, Donna's plan changed yet again.
"I played basketball all the way through my junior year and at the time I was starting to get more interested in golf, so because UC dropped its golf team, I actually went to (the University of) Kentucky and played a year of golf and came back to Cincinnati to graduate," she says. "Everybody at UC was great; they were like `yeah, come on back.' I just came back up to do my student teaching and then I graduated."
After settling into adult life, Donna and husband Rick became the parents of four children, three of whom have or are playing collegiate athletics. Son Michael played baseball at Transylvania, oldest daughter Megan is a junior on the UK golf team, Mackenzie is at UC and youngest daughter Meredith is a freshman at Sacred Heart Academy. While Megan was the first to follow in mom's footsteps as a collegiate golfer, Mackenzie is the latest as she is just weeks into her first season at UC. While on an official visit to the Clifton campus during her junior year at Sacred Heart, both Mackenzie and Donna were impressed with what they saw.
"When I came to Cincinnati for my official visit, I was really excited because my mom loved coming here," Mackenzie says. "She was so amazed at how everything had changed. After she saw all of that, I think she wanted me to come to Cincinnati more than before we visited. After I visited, I just had that feeling that I wanted to come here."
Early on, things have gone well for Mackenzie, as she has competed in each of her team's first four tournaments (79.1 average), including this week's UD Invitational where the Bearcats won the team title. As for individual goals, Mackenzie has set only one for herself that is simple, but at the same time very difficult.
"My main individual goal is to travel to all of our tournaments my freshman year," she says. "That is kind of a big goal because as soon as we came to school, we were already qualifying for our first tournament. So I didn't really know what to expect and I had to think about what I needed to practice to accomplish that. Coach Carl gave me advice, but I didn't have a year of qualifying for tournaments to learn that."
Advice has something Mackenzie has received lots of over the years, particularly from her mom. For two years, Mackenzie competed on the freshmen and junior varsity basketball teams at Sacred Heart under her mom's watchful eye. She also got plenty of tips in the back yard and on the golf course on her golf game. Even now, the Moir women don't miss many opportunities to take to the links together, including a yearly outing to the Marion Miley Invitational, one of the state of Kentucky's most prestigious amateur events. With her many years of playing experience, it would be easy to assume that Donna got the best of her daughters this summer, but that's not entirely the case.
"She is still very competitive with golf," Mackenzie says of her mom. "I play in two tournaments a year with my mom and two sisters. She wants to win, she doesn't care about letting her daughters win. This summer the one tournament where we all played in together, my older sister won and I came in second. Then my mom and my little sister were way back in the field. But usually my mom gets the better deal."
"It was really kind of funny," Donna adds. "We play in the Marion Miley Invitational. Mackenzie was one shot back (of her sister) and it ended up the last round got rained out. I think Megan and Mackenzie were looking forward to going head-to-head. I was totally out of it, (and) I heard about the whole rest of the summer. I was very happy for them because they both played well. It's really hard to play in a tournament with your kids. I think I get a little credit for being distracted. I want to see them play well. I've had my time playing golf and now it's their time."