Photo courtesy of Athletics Media Services
Women's Team Driving Ahead
Andy Cohn (SESP62) attended Northwestern before the founding of the women's golf program, and during her days a swimming pool occupied the space now claimed by the Gleacher Golf Center.
Despite the lack of an organized team, Cohn competed individually at NCAA Championships and appeared on the LPGA Tour for many years after graduation.
"It was a lot different back then," says Cohn, who also played basketball at Northwestern. "But women's athletics — particularly golf — have developed so much. It's great to see."
The last school in the Big Ten Conference to start a women's golf program, Northwestern's women golfers officially hit the links for the first time in 1992.
Since then they have finished second at the Big Ten Championship, won three tournament titles and made three NCAA Regional Championship appearances.
The women Wildcats have accomplished a lot in their infancy.
"Northwestern women's golf gave me the chance to play at the highest competitive level in college," says Emily Gilley (C02), "and also an unbelievable opportunity to attend a great university."
A three-time All-Big Ten golfer, Gilley not only won the 1999 Verizon "Mo" Memorial, but she was also named to the 2002 National Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar squad and was accepted at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine.
Emily's sister, Elizabeth Gilley (SESP98), had success as a Wildcat golfer as well. A four-year letter winner, Elizabeth won at Northwestern's home tournament, the Wildcat Invitational, during the 1997-98 season. Northwestern is also where Elizabeth met her husband, former men's golf standout Brian Payne (C96).
Women's head coach Christine Regenberg, who was named 1999-2000 Midwest Coach of the Year by the NGCA, has been the leader of the women Wildcats since its inception.
"The whole idea of building something really intrigued me," says Regenberg, who first coached at her alma mater, Wisconsin. "I had decided that I wanted to pursue teaching golf at a country club when I overheard some talk of starting up a women's team at Northwestern. That obviously got me interested in coaching again."
With three first-year golfers currently in the lineup and only one senior, the women Wildcats are looking to compete with the best women's teams in the country for years to come.
"On a national level we are on the precipice of great things," says Jamie Fischer, women's assistant coach and daughter of Andy Cohn. "I am very confident in the direction of this team right now."