Clemson has named Furman women’s golf coach Kelley Hester as their new women’s golf coach. The official announcement was made Friday morning by Clemson. Hester will replace JT Horton who was dismissed after his third competitive season leading the Tigers program.
Hester began notifying her Furman players of her decision on Thursday evening. While Clemson fans should be pleased that the school was able to bring in a highly successful coach, some of the Furman players were shocked by the announcement.
Hester played college golf at Georgia. She was an All-SEC selection three times and twice earned National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) All-America Scholar honors.
After playing the Futures Tour for a few years Hester began coaching at Mercer and then as an assistant at Georgia. Her next coaching stop was as the first head coach at UNLV. Following a year with the Rebels she took over the program at Arkansas. During her five years at the school the Razorbacks went to the NCAA tournament each year.
Her team finished 10th in the 2006 championship and in 2007 Stacey Lewis won medalist honors in the tournament giving Hester’s program a national champion.
The new Clemson coach returned to Georgia as head coach in 2007 and led the team to five NCAA tournament appearances in each of her years in Athens.
Hester came to Furman and quickly returned the Lady Paladins to their past role as NCAA Tournament participants. The Lady Paladins won the last two SoCon championships. This past season the team advanced to the NCAA Finals for the first time since 2008.
Hester has been twice been named the SoCon Coach of the Year. Her players have been named the top players in the SoCon each of the last two seasons as well as having the top two newcomers in the league the last two seasons.
The Tigers new coach is a Class A LPGA Professional and was named the organiations college coach of the year in 2009.
Clemson had interviewed three finalists for the coaching position before choosing Hester.