As the Sunday evening JetBlue flight to Boston lifted off from Reagan Airport on April 17, all was right with the world of BU women’s golf. That afternoon, at the US Naval Academy golf course in Annapolis, Md., Flair Kuan had calmly rolled in a 6-foot putt on the 54th hole of the Patriot League Championship and sealed an individual title for herself and a one-shot victory for her team. Most important, the conference title earned BU a coveted trip to the NCAA Regionals on May 9.
Seated in Row 1C, championship trophy safely ensconced in the compartment above him, was coach Bruce Chalas, who had just been named Patriot League Coach of the year for the third time in his 14-year Terriers tenure. Although Chalas smiled upon hearing the announcement from the flight attendant (“Ladies and gentlemen, we have on this flight the Boston University women’s golf team who just won the Patriot League Championship and will be headed to the NCAA Regionals soon.”), he was already furiously engaged in more important work — developing Plans A, B and C for the next three weeks of preparation.
Time would be precious and the napkins in front of him would soon be full of ideas on how to best manage that finite commodity until Regionals. Chalas was a savvy enough veteran coach to realize that stuff happens and constructing backup plans (even backups to the backups) always makes sense. Adaptability could be crucial. Nearly three weeks later — as the BU women’s golf team confronts a COVID spread on the doorstep of its biggest tournament of the year — Chalas’ napkin-planning work in Seat 1C has proven to be time very well spent.