Melissa Luellen is in her third season as Auburn's head women's golf coach in 2017-18. She came to Auburn after spending the previous 13 years as the women's golf coach at Arizona State, leading the program to an NCAA title in 2009.
A 17-year head coaching veteran, Luellen spent two years as head coach of her alma mater at the University of Tulsa from 2001-02 prior to her arrival at ASU.
|Head Coaching Career||18th season in '17-18|
|Conference Coach of the Year||5|
|NCAA Championship Appearances||14|
|NCAA Team Titles||1|
|Conference Players of the Year||5|
|2015-Present||Auburn - Head Coach|
|2003-2015||Arizona State - Head Coach
|2001-2002||Tulsa - Head Coach
|14-15||Arizona St.||9th||9th (Reg.)|
"I am thrilled to welcome Melissa Luellen to the Auburn Family as our new women's golf coach," Jacobs said. "Coach Luellen has consistently produced winners on the course, in the classroom and in the community, and she will be a great fit at Auburn. Coach Luellen has won a National Championship and multiple conference titles, so this hiring once again demonstrates my commitment to winning championships in every sport."
In 2016-17, Luellen's second season on The Plains saw the Tigers take a major step forward. Auburn made a return trip to the NCAA Regionals and saw their players earn three individual tournament wins, including two from freshman Elena Hualde. The 2016-17 season also saw Auburn improve in nearly every statistical category and have Hualde named to the SEC All-Freshman Team.
Luellen was also instrumental in securing a home tournament during the 2017-18 season; the Evans Derby Experience will be played at the Auburn University Club in March 2018.
During her very successful tenure at Arizona State, Luellen led the program to an NCAA team title, 10 NCAA Top 10 finishes, two conference championships and 25 team titles. She also coached one NCAA Individual Champion, three Pac-12 Golfers of the Year, three NGCA Freshmen of the Year, 14 All-Americans and 21 individual tournament medalists.
Luellen's coaching accomplishments have earned her several personal coaching honors. After the Sun Devils' NCAA Championship run in 2009, she was named SkyCaddie NGCA National Coach of the Year. Luellen was also named Pac-10 Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2009) and West Regional Coach of the Year four times (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009). While at Tulsa, Luellen was named Central Regional Coach of the Year in 2002 and WAC Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2002.
"I am thrilled to begin the next challenge of my coaching career at Auburn," Luellen said. "I was able to see Auburn from the eyes of a recruit when I was brought in for my `official visit' during the interview process. Auburn has everything a coach and student-athlete could possibly want to be amazing in their sport and their life. Kim Evans built an incredible program at Auburn. My goal is to build on what she accomplished and continue to win championships. I want to thank the Auburn administration for this opportunity and most importantly thank my husband, Mark, for his amazing support in this decision. War Eagle!"
Luellen's golfers have also achieved excellence in the classroom. NCAA Champion Azahara Munoz became the first two-time winner of the Edith Cummings Munson Award, which is given to the All-American with the highest grade point average. The following year, Sun Devil Juliana Murcia won the same honor.
In her two seasons as Tulsa's head coach, Luellen led her team to seven tournament titles including back-to-back Western Athletic Conference and NCAA Central Regional championships in each year. The 2001-02 season saw her team win five tournaments, including the 2002 PING/ASU Championship at Karsten Golf Course, earn a No. 3 national ranking for most of the season, and finish 12th at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Luellen was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in each of her two seasons and was the 2002 Central Regional Coach of the Year.
A four-time All-American for the Golden Hurricane, Luellen succeeded her mother, Dale McNamara, who retired in 2000 following a 26-year career that included four national championships.
As a player at Tulsa, Luellen won medalist honors at four tournaments and recorded 22 top-10 finishes in 41 career events. She capped off a stellar collegiate career by capturing a two-stroke individual victory at the 1988 NCAA Championship while leading the Golden Hurricanes to the national team title.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in Marketing from Tulsa in 1988, Luellen competed on the Futures and Ladies European Tours in 1988 and 1989 before qualifying for the LPGA Tour in October of 1989. She spent 11 years on the LPGA Tour, winning the 1991 Stratton Mountain LPGA Classic and teamed with Mike Springer to win the 1993 JC Penney Classic. She was also elected to the LPGA Executive Committee in her final two years on the tour.
Prior to college, she was a three-time Oklahoma state high school champion, a two-time Women's Oklahoma Golf Association Girls' Junior Champion (1981, 1982), the 1983 WOGA State Amateur, and the 1983 AJGA Player of the Year. Luellen was inducted into the Women's Golf Coaches Association Player Hall of Fame in 1998, the WGCA Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014 and the University of Tulsa Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
Luellen and her husband, Mark, have a son, Drake, and a daughter, Sydney.