Thomas Wolfe’s George Webber may not have been able to go home again, but there’s no place like their CSUMB home for Otter alumni. Case in point: CSUMB grads Darcy Lake Milligan (HCOM, ’12) and Ashlee Trotter–Barba (HCOM, ’10), who returned to CSUMB this fall to accept positions as coaches with the Otter golf and softball teams, respectively.
Milligan, one of the top women’s golfers in CSUMB history, was an All–American as a senior in 2011. She won the individual title at the 2010 NCAA West Super Regional, leading the Otters to their best ever finish at No. 7 nationally that season. Since graduating from CSUMB, she has worked as an assistant golf professional at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course. In 2012, she married former Otter golf NCAA Champion DJ Milligan (BUS, ’11).
Trotter-Barba, meanwhile, was the first "star" position player for the Otters as a member of the first–ever Otter softball team in 2006. By the time she graduated, she had led the Otters to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances. Her name still peppers the CSUMB record book five seasons after her graduation. She had been the head varsity softball coach at North Salinas High before rejoining the Otters.
We sat down with the two newest members of the Otter coaching staff to learn what they’ve been up to and what brought them back home to CSUMB…
Catch us up on what you’ve been up to since graduating from CSUMB.
DARCY MILLIGAN: I started working part-time at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course while I was still in college, and was able to obtain a full-time position there as an assistant golf professional right before graduation. I think my role as a CSUMB golfer had a lot to do with that. It has been a wonderful experience.
ASHLEE TROTTER-BARBA: Since graduation, I have gotten married to my high school sweetheart and continue to live in Salinas. I have been coaching high school. I love coaching here and I am so happy to be a part of the Otter family.
What influenced your decision to stay in the Monterey Bay area after graduating?
MILLIGAN: I absolutely fell in love with the Monterey Bay area during college (especially the weather, the beach, and the gorgeous scenery!) and I was hoping for a job opportunity that would allow me to stay here. Being that this is an outstanding location for anyone in the golf industry, it made sense for me to stay here, and I love every minute of it!
TROTTER-BARBA: Staying close to home was an easy decision for me. I am very close to my family and having the opportunity to start a program and play competitive college softball while being home was a dream come true. There was not one home game that my family missed throughout my career.
Did you both stay in close contact with the school after leaving CSUMB?
MILLIGAN: Since the teams still practice at Bayonet Black Horse, I’ve been able to keep in touch with our current golfers and follow their progress. Every once in a while I drive by campus and see new improvements, such as new buildings, new paint and new coffee shops. It’s been great to see all the progress that CSUMB has made the last few years.
TROTTER-BARBA: Since I was born and raised in the area and continue to live in the area, it’s been easy to stay connected to the school. The place where I feel most connected is on the softball field.
Was working in sports part of the plan coming into college or did the opportunities you had at CSUMB influence those decisions?
MILLIGAN: My plan changed a few times from the time I started freshman year. I finally settled on the human communication major with a business minor because I saw the various career options I had with those skill sets. I always had a passion for golf, but didn’t fully realize that I could incorporate golf into a career until I began working at Bayonet Black Horse. My experience as a college golfer at CSUMB had a lot to do with this realization as well.
TROTTER-BARBA: My degree in human communication made me realize how important it was to have great teachers and coaches. I found myself wanting to get back into the game and coaching was what I wanted to do. My degree has helped me with coaching and with the ability to understand and interact with my student–athletes.