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LPGA's Melissa McNamara to Succeed Mother as Tulsa Golf Coach


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   Former University of Tulsa All-America golfer Melissa McNamara was named women's golf coach for the Golden Hurricane today, announced Judy MacLeod, TU's director of athletics.

   McNamara, 34, will succeed her mother, Dale, who retired this year following 26 seasons as the Tulsa coach. The younger McNamara is currently on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour. She joined the LPGA Tour in October 1989.

   "I'm extremely excited about coaching at my alma mater. I'd like to thank Judy MacLeod and the search committee for giving me this opportunity, not because I'm Dale's daughter, but because they believe I can do the job," said McNamara.

   "I think I can bring both positive and negative experiences to assist our student-athletes. I hope that I can help young people make decisions not only in the game of golf, but life," added McNamara.

   "Melissa was highly recommended by numerous community leaders and she sold herself to the search committee," said MacLeod. "She is an extremely bright and energetic person, who's experiences as a player on all levels will be a huge benefit to our student-athletes. There is no question that Melissa can continue the rich tradition of women's golf here at Tulsa."

   In 11 seasons on the LPGA Tour, McNamara posted wins at the 1991 Stratton Mountain LPGA Classic and teamed with Mike Springer to capture medalist honors at the 1993 JC Penney Classic. McNamara, who represents the Williams Company, is in her second year as a member of the six-player LPGA Executive Committee. She will continue to serve out her two-year term until December 2000.

   "I made a decision about a year ago last February to look at other options due to some injuries and I was just getting tired of traveling five weeks at a time the entire year," said McNamara. "I wanted to be able to keep involved in the game of golf. I've dedicated my whole life to it, so coaching just seemed to fit.

   "This is a unique situation," said McNamara. "I have compared me following my mother as coach to a family business. As a parent retires, and a child steps in to take over the family business, this is kind of what it's like."

   In college, McNamara was a four-time All-America performer at Tulsa, earning first-team honors as a senior, second-team merits her sophomore and junior seasons and honorable mention accolades in her freshman season. She began her collegiate career by capturing medalist honors in just her second tournament, winning the 1984 Nancy Lopez Invitational.

   McNamara won medalist honors in four collegiate tournaments, while placing among the top-10 in 22 of 41 career events. As a senior, McNamara placed among the top-10 in four tournaments and saved her lone victory that season for the NCAA Championship. She captured a two-stroke victory at the 1988 NCAA Championship to claim the individual crown, while leading the Hurricane to the team title.

   Before beginning her collegiate career, McNamara earned first team American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) All-America honors from 1982-1984. In 1983, she was the AJGA's Player of the Year and the Oklahoma State champion.

   McNamara was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1998, and this past February was inducted into the University of Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame.

   "I'm thrilled for Melissa and equally as excited for the future of our women's golf program," said Dale McNamara. "I believe that the program will not skip a beat in this transition from me to Melissa. She has so much energy and will be able to use her experiences as a player to the benefit of her team."

   This week McNamara continues on the LPGA Tour. She begins competition on Thursday at the KathyIrelandGreens.com LPGA Classic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and next week at the Wegman's International in Rochester, New York.