Blackwelder Resigns as Head Women's Golf Coach
March 22, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Myra Blackwelder announced Monday that she will resign her position as University of Kentucky women's golf coach after the completion of her third season in April.
"This was not an easy decision, and I was honored to be given a chance to serve my alma mater and play a role in the process of rebuilding the program," Blackwelder said. "I will miss working with my players on a day-to-day basis, and watching them mature and grow as people. We have a very talented, young team, and I am confident that they will continue to improve, gain valuable experience, and develop into something special over the coming years. I am looking forward to returning to my teaching career which will allow me to have the flexibility to spend more time with my family."
"I thank Myra for her efforts over the last three years," Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said. "During that time, she returned Kentucky women's golf to postseason play and built a foundation for the future. I respect her decision to return to her teaching of young golfers and her desire to spend more time with her family. We wish her well."
UK will begin a national search at the conclusion of the season.
"We are committed to having all our programs compete on a conference and national level and that will be our focus moving forward," Barnhart said.
A former member of the women's golf team, graduating from Kentucky in 1978, Blackwelder returned to her alma mater in May 2007 to become the third coach in program history. Upon her arrival, Blackwelder vowed to take Kentucky to the next level which she made evident in her time as head coach.
In her first season, Blackwelder helped guide her daughter, Mallory Blackwelder, to the 2008 NCAA Championships West Regional, as she became the first Kentucky golfer to advance past the conference tournament since 2000. Mallory Blackwelder also set the school's scoring average record for a season in 2008 with a 75.34 stroke average. The squad broke the school's low round record when they fired a 290 in the first round of the Mason Rudolph Championship.
Coach Blackwelder's success continued during the 2008-09 season as Kentucky reached the NCAA Regional for the first time since 2000. The Wildcats took first place at a tournament for the first time since 2006, topping the field at the Lady Mocs Intercollegiate. Mallory Blackwelder was the top individual at the event.
The team broke the school's low-round record again in 2009 after shooting 288 in the third round of the LSU Golf Classic. Setting yet another school best, Coach Blackwelder's squad broke the season scoring average record by almost two strokes, averaging 305.23 strokes per round.
In the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats recorded a second-place finish at the Napa River Grill Cardinal Cup in September after posting an 898 (303-290-305). Shattering the record of 288 set in 2009, Kentucky broke the low-round record a third time under Coach Blackwelder with a 284 in the third round of the Challenge at Onion Creek in November.
Not only has the golf team flourished on the course under Coach Blackwelder, but they have succeeded in the classroom and community as well.
Mallory Blackwelder was the named the 2009 Southeastern Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year for her accomplishments as a student-athlete. Also in 2009, Mallory Blackwelder was tabbed as first team Academic All-American and National Golf Coaches Association All-Scholar Team member.
Additionally, Mallory Blackwelder, Beth Felts, and Louise Ljungstedt were named Academic All-SEC under Blackwelder. Erica Still also received recognition when she was honored as a member of the 2009 SEC Community Service Team.
Coach Blackwelder came to Kentucky after a 13-year career on the LPGA Tour, and a 14-year teaching career that produced UK players Mallory Blackwelder, Ashlee Rose, and Betsie Johnson. Blackwelder was honored as the tour's 1980 Rookie of the Year.
Kentucky's first female athletic scholarship recipient in 1975, Coach Blackwelder notched 10 collegiate golf invitational titles as a Wildcat. She also claimed two Kentucky State Amateur Championships as a collegiate athlete.
Previously, Blackwelder coached at Woodford County High School and Transylvania University. She is a member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Kentucky Golf Hall of Fame and Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame.