Erin O’Neil Resigns as Kansas Women’s Golf Coach
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After 17 seasons, Kansas women’s golf coach Erin O’Neil has resigned from her post to move out of state to be closer to her family, O’Neil announced Friday.
“Throughout the past 14 months of this pandemic, the challenges and adversity we have all faced has certainly changed the way we look at what is important in life. For many of us, that is family,” O’Neil said. “Specifically, for me, that’s my parents who live in Florida. With the stay-at-home orders for many months, I was not able to be around my parents to give them the support they deserve at this point in their lives. While this is a very difficult and bittersweet decision, I have decided to step away from coaching the KU women’s golf team. I know this is the right decision because it will allow me to spend more time with my family and pursue other professional opportunities.”
O’Neil is the longest tenured coach in Kansas women’s golf history being named head coach on August 28, 2004. In 17 seasons at Kansas, the Jayhawks won 13 tournament titles, finished in the top five in 52 tournaments and in the top 10 in 87 times.
“We are incredibly grateful for Coach O’Neil’s dedication and impact on so many student-athletes and the University of Kansas,” said Director of Athletics Travis Goff. “Erin has led hundreds of Jayhawks with dedication and passion during her time at KU. While I know this was a difficult decision for her, I am thrilled to know she will continue to be a resource for Kansas women’s golf in the weeks and months ahead. We are so grateful to Coach O’Neil!”
With O’Neil at the helm, the Jayhawks were part of three-straight NCAA Regionals including the program’s first team appearance in 2014.
That 2013-14 season set the benchmark for Kansas women’s golf. The Jayhawks finished the 2014 Big 12 Championship tied for fourth place, the best conference finish ever for KU since it finished third in 1992 in the Big Eight Championship. With an NCAA regional at-large bid, the Jayhawks not only qualified, but finished in the top five in the 2014 NCAA Central Regional Tournament. After a strong showing at regionals, they also qualified for the NCAA Championship for the second time in school history, with the other being in 1990.
Under O’Neil, Kansas had 27 student-athletes named Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars and 66 selected to the Academic All-Big 12 teams. On five occasions, a Jayhawk was named All-Big 12 and nine times a KU student-athlete earned Big 12 All-Tournament honors.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity I have had to coach at KU for the last 17 years,” O’Neil said. “We have made great progress on and off the golf course and I am excited about the future of this program. The relationships I have formed here with our staff, and especially with the student-athletes, will last a lifetime and always hold a special place in my heart. I’d like to thank the Athletic Department for their leadership and support throughout my time in Lawrence. To my Associate Head Coach Katy Nahm, you have put your heart and soul into our team on a daily basis for the last 10 years and I cannot thank you enough. She has been instrumental in developing our student-athletes and helping me create a culture that reflects what it means to be a Jayhawk. To the KU fans, thank you for your support. I will always be a Jayhawk no matter where I am. Rock Chalk!”
With O’Neil at the helm, the Kansas record book has practically been rewritten, as 32 of the 33 lowest 18-hole individual scores occurred under her tutelage. In addition, the Jayhawks have posted 28 of the lowest 29 season stroke averages in the O’Neil era. As a team, KU has notched 19 of its lowest 18-hole scores over the last 12 seasons and all nine of its lowest 54-hole team efforts in school history. Without a doubt, O’Neil ushered in the most successful era of KU women’s golf, capturing 13 of the program’s 28 team titles.
During O’Neil’s time at Kansas, Jayhawks won 18 individual titles, including Amanda Costner winning the 2007 Big 12 Championship. Costner would go on to be named the 2007 Big 12 Female Sportsperson of the Year. From 2012-16, Kansas’ Yupaporn Kawinpakorn tallied seven individual tourney titles and became the first Jayhawk named WGCA All-American earning honorable honors in 2016.
O’Neil came to KU in 2004 after four seasons as an assistant coach at Auburn. Before joining the Auburn program, O’Neil played professionally for three years on the Futures Tour and the Kosaido Ladies Asian Tour.
O’Neil was a four-year letterwinner at the University of Georgia from 1994-97 and led the Bulldogs to a pair of SEC Championships in 1994 and 1997. She was a three-time All-SEC selection from 1994-96 and earned SEC Freshman of the Year honors in 1994. O’Neil was listed on the Director’s Honor Roll for six quarters while at Georgia and was a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll selection in 1996 and 1997. As an amateur, O’Neil qualified for seven United States Amateur Championships, as well as two United States Opens.