Big Ten Names Award After Former Michigan State Coach Mary Fossum
April 25, 2007
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Big Ten Conference office has accepted the women's golf coaches' recommendation for the creation of the Mary Fossum Award, the league announced on April 17. The award, named after the former Michigan State women's golf coach, will be presented to the student-athlete with the lowest stroke average according to the Golfstat.com rankings.
To be eligible for the award, student-athletes must play in a minimum of six tournaments. For student-athletes who participate in more than six events with at least three teams at the event, all scores will count. The first Mary Fossum Award will be handed out before the Big Ten Championships at Forest Akers Golf Course, which begin on Friday, April 27.
"I'm so surprised but thrilled to think that the Big Ten would name the award for lowest scoring average after me," Fossum said from her home in Okemos, Mich. "I don't know what to say. It's great. It's wonderful."
Currently, Purdue's Maria Hernandez is leading the race for the award with a 73.13 stroke average. Michigan State junior Sara Brown is second in the Big Ten in scoring average, as she has averaged 74.00 strokes per round.
Fossum was head coach of the Spartans from the program's creation in 1973 until her retirement in 1997. Under Fossum's guidance, the Spartans won five straight Big Ten titles from 1974-78 and played in six consecutive AIAW National Championships (1973-78). The Spartans regained the conference crown in 1982 and played in the 1982 and 1984 NCAA Championships. MSU claimed its third conference runner-up spot under Fossum at the 1987 Big Ten Championship.
Those accomplishments led to recognition of Fossum as one of the country's best collegiate golf coaches. She was honored as the first NCAA Midwest Region Coach of the Year in 1984 and was inducted into the Golf Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1999, Michigan State's annual fall women's golf tournament was renamed the Mary Fossum Invitational. In January of 1998, Fossum was honored by the College Golf Foundation with the Rolex/Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award for outstanding service and contributions to collegiate women's golf. She was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 27, 2003.
"It's an honor not only for Mary, but for me as one of her former players, the whole golf program, and our university," Michigan State head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll said. "It says a lot about Mary as a person, for what she has done in the game of college golf, that she was chosen to be honored. There've been a lot of great people associated with Big Ten golf, so for it to be Mary just makes it so thrilling. We're so excited. Even more exciting is that the first time that it will be handed out will be at our own golf course and Mary will be there to hand it out."
Her husband Bruce, coached the MSU men's golf team for 25 seasons before retiring in 1989.
Courtesy of Michigan State Sports Information