PHOENIX, Ariz. – Legendary Sun Devil Women’s Golf head coach Linda Vollstedt was honored for her contributions to women’s sports during a halftime ceremony at the Phoenix Mercury game on Tuesday.
Vollstedt was recognized as a part of the “Believe in Women” series started by the Phoenix Mercury back in 2020. The WNBA Franchise is celebrating influential female figures in sports. Few have had the impact of Vollstedt, who is a champion for gender equality on and off the course.
“The men practiced at the country club and the women practiced on a dirt field.”
Last night’s @FrysFoodStores Believe in Women Honoree was Linda Vollstedt. At the helm of @SunDevilWGolf for 21 years, the five-time national Coach of the Year became synonymous with excellence. pic.twitter.com/arJpmpOGHI
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) June 22, 2022
The 2022 Believe in Women class includes some of the most important names in sports, with Vollstedt joining an exclusive list. Tennis icon Billie Jean King, recently retired Sun Devil Women’s Basketball head coach Charli Turner Thorne, Stanford Women’s Basketball head coach Tara VanDerveer, and trailblazing women’s basketball player/executive Ann Meyers Drysdale were inducted earlier in the season. If you take a closer look at Vollstedt’s resume, it is easy to see why she was honored as one of the greats in female athletics.
The LPGA Professionals Hall of Famer enjoyed successful career at Arizona State University as the head women’s golf coach from 1980-2001. When all was said and done, Vollstedt was widely considered as the most successful coach in the history of Sun Devil Athletics. She was also one of the most influential advocates for women’s collegiate sports and Title XI, helping female sports grow not only at Arizona State, but across the country.
During her tenure as the Sun Devil Women’s Golf Coach, she built ASU into the top collegiate program in the country. Vollstedt guided the Sun Devils to an unprecedented six NCAA Championships and sent 22 elite collegiate players to the LPGA Tour.
Her teams captured 9 Conference Championships, boasted 42 All Americans and 71 All-Conference Players, as well as 25 Academic All-Americans. A total of 12 individuals won Conference Medalists honors and 4 Sun Devils became Individual NCAA Champions under Vollstedt’s watch. In 1995, the team went undefeated by finishing first in every tournament, a record that still stands.
The accolades don’t stop there, as Vollstedt coached 11 USGA Amateur and Publinks Champions, 9 Curtis Cup Players, 13 Solheim Cup Appearances, 4 National Player of the Yeas and 4 Honda Award Winners. The 22 professional players she coached while at Arizona State included LPGA standouts Danielle Ammaccapane, Brandie Burton, Michelle Estill, Heather Farr, Amy Fruhwirth, Jimin Kang, Emilee Klein, Lauri Merten, Pia Nilsson, Grace Park, Tina Tombs, Wendy Ward and Pamela Wright.
Eight of her former players at ASU went on to become collegiate golf coaches, including Michelle Estill (Arizona State), Missy Farr-Kaye (Arizona State), Heather Bowie (Florida Atlantic), and Emilee Klein (UCF/San Diego St./Tulsa).
During her time at Arizona State, she received several prestigious LPGA awards. Volstedt was twice selected as the LPGA National Coach of the Year and LPGA Sectional Coach of the Year. Her other awards include 5-time Golfweek National Coach of the Year; 3-time National Golf Coaches Association Coach of the Year; 4-time Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year; 7-time NCAA Regional Coach of the Year. She was also named as Golf World magazine’s “Top 10 College Coaches of the 20th Century” which included male and female coaches. Back in 2016, Vollstedt was named the Pac-12 Women’s Golf Coach of the Century, while legendary Sun Devil Men’s Golf Head Coach Randy Lein was named Pac-12 Men’s Golf Coach of the Century.
Along with these coaching honors, she also received several awards for many contributions to sports and the golf industry. Vollstedt is the recipient of the PGA PING Anser Award; March of Dimes Leadership Award; YWCA Tribute to Women Outstanding Sports Award; ASU Alumni Achievement Award; ASU Sparky Award for Outstanding Service; Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award (NGCA); Bob Goldwater Ambassador of Golf Award; and Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) Leadership Award.
In 2001, she had to retire from coaching at ASU because of a career-ending injury. However, her passion for the game and the love of the sport was still there. She insisted on continuing to give back, coming up with the idea to offer seminars for coaches.
Thus, she got involved with “Coaching Fore The Soul”, which allowed her to continue to sharing her wisdom with others. On a national platform, LPGA and non-LPGA members attended. In 2007, she was asked, along with fellow class of 2020 LPGA Professional Hall of Fame inductees Kathy Murphy and Debbie Crews, to write the curriculum for the LPGA T&CP National Education Coaching Program.
Because of her accomplishments, she has been inducted into 9 Hall of Fames: International Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF); National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA); Arizona Sports HOF; Sun Devil Athletics HOF; Arizona Golf Association; Arizona State University Hall of Honor; Portland Interscholastic League (PIL); Phoenix Union High School (PUHS); Pac-12 Conference Hall of Honor(first female coach to be inducted) and most recently LPGA Hall of Famer.
ABOUT “BELIEVE IN WOMEN”
Sitting at the intersection of women and girls, basketball, LGBTQ rights and people of color, the Phoenix Mercury has utilized its platform to lift the voices of those previously silenced and to honor individuals making a difference in the community. In continuation of this commitment, the Phoenix Mercury, for the third year in a row, will elevate incredible women in sports, business and philanthropy who are making an impact in their communities with its Believe in Women award brought to you by Fry’s Food Stores.
HOW TO FOLLOW
For the latest updates and information on the Sun Devil Women’s Golf program, follow our Twitter/Instagram accounts (@SunDevilWGolf), like our Facebook page (facebook.com/sundevilwgolf/), and visit our website (thesundevils.com).