Daytona Beach, FL - The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA)
Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) membership has selected Georgia's Kelley Hester as its 2009 Coach of the Year. The LPGA T&CP Coach of the Year award was established in 1980, and is awarded annually to a female golf professional actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level. Georgia's Beans Kelly won the award in 1996.
³I'm very honored to be recognized by the LPGA and to receive such a
prestigious award,² Hester said. ³I think it gives a great deal of credence to our profession that the LPGA, which does so much for the game of golf, would choose to honor a coach.²
Hester was a standout golfer herself for the Lady Bulldogs from 1992-96. She was a vital member of the Georgia teams that finished fourth at the 1993 NCAA Championships and captured Southeastern Conference Championships in both 1993 and 1994. Among her accomplishments as a student-athlete, Hester was a three-time All-SEC performer (1993, 1995-96) and a two-time National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) All-Scholar team member (1995-96). Hester
competed in the 1996 U.S. Women's Open and was a three-time qualifier for the U.S. Women's Amateur.
After graduating cum laude from UGA in 1995 with a degree in public
relations, Hester had head coaching stints at Mercer (1998-99), UNLV
(2001-02) and Arkansas (2002-07), as well as a role as an assistant coach at Georgia (1999-2001). In 2007, Hester returned to her alma mater as head coach.
³I find it very rewarding to work with girls during their formative college
years and see them mature, both on and off the course, through the process of playing a college sport,² Hester said.
Hester is a LPGA T&CP Class A member in the Southeast Section, and has been a teaching professional for 11 years. From 2008-09, she served on the United States Golf Association (USGA) Intercollegiate Relations Committee, and in 2008, she was the USGA liaison for the U.S. Junior Girls Championship Clinic for area youth in Farmington, Conn. She is a past president and vice president of the NGCA, and currently sits on its Board of Directors.
Hester was selected by the LPGA T&CP membership's Executive Committee from the pool of sectional award winners voted on by the members of the five regional sections: Central, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Western.
Other LPGA T&CP national award winners for 2009 included: Professional of the Year, Linda Nevatt, The ACE Club, Lafayette Hill, Pa.; and Teacher of the Year, Rita Reasons, Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf, Spring Hill, Tenn.