Three earn all-tournament honors; Pettersen, Kane claim Newcomer, Coach of the Year
Bears earn nine first-place votes, 98 points in pre-championship poll
Senior Emma Clegg's 1-over-73 ignited Missouri State to a tournament-best round (325) on Monday
Host Missouri State is in fifth place after carding a 332 on Sunday at The Club at Porto Cima
Senior Catherine Dolan fired a 2-over 74 on Saturday, was MSU's highest finisher
HC Kevin Kane Recaps Day 1 of the MVC Women's Golf Championship
Head coach Kevin Kane previews NCAA West Regional
Senior Kelsey Welber, head coach Kevin Kane react to NCAA West Regional placement
Phone: (417) 836-4138
In his 14th season directing the Missouri State program and 22nd year as a collegiate head coach, Kevin Kane has brought renewed recognition and respect to the Missouri State women's golf program and taken it to a level of success unprecedented in school history.
Kane, a 1984 Northern Iowa graduate, has made a habit of turning struggling programs around and has led the Bears to an historic turnaround. Since 2002, the Bears have steadily worked their way back into the regional spotlight, climbing from a sixth-place Missouri Valley Conference finish the year prior to his arrival to a record-breaking year in 2006-07 to a conference title and NCAA regional appearance in 2012. MSU rallied on that final day of the Valley championship in April 2012 in Terre Haute, Ind., to claim its first conference title since 2001 and went on claim a share of 20th place at the NCAA West Regional in Boulder, Colo.
The Bears have climbed to as high as 58th nationally in the last decade, the loftiest ranking in school history, and have remained one of the top teams in the Valley and region ever since. They have achieved all this while playing a strong schedule which often finds them facing some of the nation's and region's top teams.
MSU has rewritten the school record book over the past 11 seasons and has put itself in the middle of the conference title hunt virtually every year. The Bears have pocketed 39 top-five finishes and four tournament championships over the last six seasons while also garnering 15 MVC Golfers of the Week in that same period.
Kane has directed his players to 25 all-conference performances during his tenure, two conference players of the year (Sally Hinton, 2007, and Missy Linnens, 2008) and three newcomers of the year (Catherine Dolan, 2009, and Heather Smith, 2010 and Stine Pettersen, 2015). In addition, Dolan and Hinton are two of just seven players in league history to earn all-Valley honors four times. By being named MVC Coach of the Year in 2012, he became the first coach in league history to earn the award at two different institutions.
Prior to his arrival at MSU, Kane spent eight seasons at UNI, where he rebuilt a team that had finished more than 100 strokes out of second-to-last place in the conference the year before he took over leadership of the program. In his last four seasons guiding the Panthers, they were the only team to finish in the top three at the conference championship all four years. In 2002, Kane guided the Panthers to two tournament titles and second place at the MVC championship -- the highest finish in school history. He also was voted MVC Coach of the Year for the second time by his peers in 2002 after previously winning the honor in 1998.
Success for the Bears hasn't just been limited to the golf course. In the classroom, they led all MSU's women's teams in grade-point average in the 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2008-09 seasons and are perennially well represented on the Missouri Valley Scholar-Athlete Team. MSU has been ranked in the top 25 nationally across all divisions in GPA four times.
"We certainly want to have success on the golf course," said Kane, "and strive to do everything we can to make that happen. But success in the classroom is equally important, because you're here to get an education first. The percentage of people who go on to play golf for a living after college is miniscule, so it's the quality of the education you take with you that's the most important, and we try not to lose sight of that."
Kane earned his bachelor's degree in Communications from UNI in 1984.
The Bernard, Iowa, native and his wife, Laurie, reside in Springfield. Their two daughters, Kelsey (24) and Allison (21), also live in Springfield.