Emily Fletcher will begin her seventh season with Northwestern women's golf team in 2014-15 and she has helped the program reach new heights on and off the course during her tenure. Under Fletcher's direction, Northwestern has qualified for five-consecutive NCAA Regionals from 2010-14, made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Championships (2013, 2014), won the program's first Big Ten title in 2013 and has shattered a number of program records along the way. Fletcher was duely recognized for her leadership during the 2010-11 season as she was named Big Ten's Co-Coach of the Year, the first Wildcat head coach to earn such an honor. She earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors again in 2013 after guiding Northwestern to a share of its first Big Ten title in program history.
Northwestern displayed consistent success throughout the 2013-14 season. The Wildcats finished amongst the top three in five tournaments, top five in eight events and recorded two tournament victories. Northwestern took home the team title at the Hurricane Invitational and won the stroke play portion of the prestigious Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, scoring a new program record of 11-under 277 amongst a highly-competitive field. At the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic, the Wildcats were the only team to go under par during stroke play, finishing far ahead of a number of top-ranked programs. Additionally, Hana Lee took home co-medalist honors at the Liz Murphey, matching a program record with a 6-under 66.
NU continued to make history as four Wildcats were honored with All-Big Ten honors, the most in a single-season for the program. Lee, along with Kaitlin Park received First Team All-Big Ten distinction while Elizabeth Szokol and Kacie Komoto took home Second Team All-Big Ten accolades. That group, along with Suchaya Tangkamolprasert, worked together to record another top-eight finish at the NCAA West Regional and secured back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Championships for the first time in program history. At the 2014 NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Okla., NU posted another top-15 finish with Tangkamolprasert finishing inside the top 20.
The Wildcats had a banner 2012-13 season, one that saw Northwestern tie for first at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, with all six competitors placing in the top 25, including three in the top 10. NU shared the 2013 Big Ten Championship title with Purdue as Kaitlin Park led the Wildcats with her sixth-place finish and spot on the All-Championship Team.
Following the conference tournament, Fletcher was tabbed 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year and had two players receive other Big Ten accolades. Kaitlin Park became just the second Wildcat (and the first under Fletcher) to earn the title of Big Ten Freshman of the Year while also landing a spot on the All-Big Ten First Team. Sophomore Hana Lee also earned First-Team All-Big Ten status while leading the team in scoring average throughout the 2012-13 season.
The Wildcats made their fourth-consecutive NCAA appearance under Fletcher, playing at the 2013 NCAA East Regional, and reached another milestone. After entering the third and final round in 10th place in the 24-team field, Fletcher's Wildcats tied a then-program record in the third round, carding a 4-under 284 to vault into sixth place and qualify for the NCAA Championships for just the second time in Northwestern women's golf history. The Wildcats finished 15th at the 2013 NCAA Championships, placing ahead of four teams ranked in the top 20.
In 2011-12, Northwestern qualified for its third-consecutive NCAA Regional, playing in the East Regional at the Penn State Blue Course in State College, Pa. The 'Cats finished the regional on a positive note, posting their best round of the tournament and two players, Devon Brown and Alex Lederhausen, scored eagles in the final round. NU began the 2011-12 campaign strong, with a third and fourth place finish, respectively, in the first two tournaments of the season, 12 sub-300 rounds and had eight top-10 finishes throughout the year.
Using a lineup that consisted of one senior, one junior, one sophomore and two freshmen, each starter stepped up at various points throughout the season. Junior Lauren Weaver added a numer of highlights to her already illustrious NU career, tying for first at the Mountain View Collegiate and becoming just the fourth golfer in school history to score a hole-in-one. Weaver's ace came at the Lady Buckeye Invitational on the par-three, 146-yard eighth hole.
During the 2010-11 season, Fletcher's Wildcats posted eight sub-300 rounds, including a then-program-record 2-under 286 in the final round of the Big Ten Championships. NU finished among the top-six in eight of its 12 events, highlighted by a second-place finish at the Lady Northern Invitational and a third-place finish in the Big Ten Championships. NU's 35-over 1,187 at the Big Ten Championships set a Northwestern record by a full 19 strokes. Under Fletcher's tutelage, Lauren Weaver once again garnered All-Big Ten honors, this time earning a first team All-Big Ten selection for the 2010-11 season.
The 2009-10 season saw the Wildcats return to NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2007 as the Wildcats finished 15th at the NCAA Central Regional. Then-freshman Lauren Weaver received Second Team All-Big Ten honors while three Wildcats, Alex Lederhausen, Kelsey Lindenschmidt and Innapha Tantanavivat were honored off the course as NGCA All-American Scholars. The Wildcats were recognized by the National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) as having one of the nation's highest collective team GPAs, checking in at 24th with a combined team GPA of 3.525. Northwestern led all Big Ten schools as the Wildcat were the only conference team to crack the top 25.
In her first year at the helm of the program (2008-09), the Wildcats recorded top-10 team finishes in 10 of the 11 tournaments they competed in, highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Northwestern had four golfers place in the top-10 on the year, with an additional 12 top-20 individual finishes.
Fletcher, who is the second head coach of the Northwestern women's golf team, has more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and coach, including spending nine years mentoring on the LPGA Tour. She served as the primary swing instructor for the LPGA's Jenny Lidback, helping her win the 1995 DuMaurier Classic champion, one of the LPGA's four majors. Lidback also captured 20 top-10 finishes under Fletcher's tutelage.
"I have known Emily for over 15 years and had always thought she would make a great college coach," NU Director of Golf Pat Goss said of Fletcher's hiring. "I am especially impressed with her background and relationships in professional golf. Our goal is to attract women who want to pursue golf with the goal of playing professionally. Emily has a strong belief in what Northwestern University and our golf programs stand for. I have no doubt she will lead us toward our goal of being the top team in the Big Ten and a consistently top-20 program."
Fletcher also served as the assistant tournament director for the Wachovia Betsy King Classic from 1996 through 2004, serving in a variety of different roles. Her work with the championship earned a selection to work with Betsy King at the 2007 Solheim Cup in Sweden.
"I think so highly of Emily that I chose her to assist me in the Solheim Cup," said King. "I recruited Emily to organize and lead the team helpers for the U.S. team. I think Emily will be an outstanding women's golf coach for Northwestern."
Prior to her arrival at Northwestern, she spent 20 years with the Glen View Club as the director of instruction, teaching professional and assistant manager for golf operations. Fletcher also spent four seasons as an assistant golf professional at the Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
A 1987 graduate of Ferris State University, Fletcher was an AIAW Division II All-American in 1981. She has been a PGA member since 1987 and was named as the reader's favorite instructor in Golf For Women magazine in 1997.
"These are exciting times in women's athletics at Northwestern," Fletcher said. "We're eager to put women's golf on the same level as softball, lacrosse, tennis and the other women's programs at Northwestern. The bar has been set by some of these other programs, and I'm excited for us to achieve at the same level."