LEXINGTON, Ky.—One of the most successful women’s golfers in school history, Myra Blackwelder, has been named women’s golf coach at the University of Kentucky, Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart announced Friday. Blackwelder a 1978 graduate of Kentucky, replaces Stephanie Barker as the seventh coach in school history and third in UK varsity annals.
“I’m extremely excited to take on the challenge of rebuilding the UK golf program,” said Blackwelder. “This program is near and dear to my heart as I was on the very first UK women’s golf team, so it brings me full circle with Kentucky.”
Blackwelder became Kentucky’s first female athletic scholarship recipient in 1975 and notched 10 collegiate golf invitational titles as a Wildcat. While a collegiate athlete, Blackwelder also claimed two Kentucky State Amateur Championships.
“Myra brings a tremendous teaching background and instant credibility to our women’s golf program,” said Barnhart. “She has experienced success at every level of golf – from amateur to professional - and has tutored a long list of talented players. We’re proud to have a former Wildcat leading our women’s golf team.”
For 12 seasons, Blackwelder appeared on the LPGA tour winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year in 1980. She joined the LPGA Legends Tour in 2000 and is 37th on the career money list.
Blackwelder served as Head Women’s Golf Coach for one season at Transylvania University (2001-02) and was the boys and girls golf coach for two seasons at Woodford County, Ky. High School.
Since 1992, Blackwelder has served as a golf instructor at Man ‘O War Golf Club in Lexington and at Planter’s Row in Nicholasville. Individual golf students have won titles at varying levels including the NCAA, American Junior Golf Association, PGA Junior Series, Kentucky State Amateur and Miss Kentucky Golf. She has also been involved with numerous Kentucky high school players who have been named all-state members and won regional and invitational high school tournaments.
In addition to coaching, Blackwelder is a founding member of the Kentucky Sports Authority. She served as the LPGA Goals and Objectives Chairman in 1988, LPGA Veterans Forum Chairman in 2005 and is currently a member of the Ryder Cup Task Force in preparation for the 2008 Ryder Cup, to be held at Valhalla in Louisville.
Blackwelder has been honored in various Kentucky Hall of Fames including the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, Kentucky Golf, and Kentucky Sports.
Blackwelder is married to Worth Blackwelder and they have two children, Myles and Mallory. Mallory just completed her sophomore year on Florida’s women’s golf team. As a freshman she captured the annual Lady Wildcat Fall Invitational, in Lexington.
Kentucky’s third coach in 28 years will welcome three letterwinners from last season’s squad, including rising seniors Elizabeth Dotson and Beth Felts and sophomore Erica Still.
“We have three outstanding golfers returning to our team next season,” said Blackwelder. “I’m excited to begin working with each of them on their game. This is a good core to build around as we begin to assemble our team and bring in great players.”