Cavaliers Finish Third in Team Standings
By Jeff White (email@example.com)
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Since the UVA women’s golf originated in 2003, it has been on the fast track of establishing itself as one of the nation’s top programs.
That was most evident during the 2015-16 season when UVA won its second consecutive ACC team title, had the ACC individual champion (Lauren Coughlin) and advanced to match play at the NCAA Championships for the first time. Coughlin was later recognized as the ACC player of the year and a second-team All-American. Lewellen was tabbed as the ACC Coach of the Year for the third time during her career.
The 2014-15 season will always be a memorable one for Lewellen. The Cavaliers shot 27-under to win the program's first ACC title by a whopping 26strokes. UVa placed three players on the all-conference team for the first time and the team advanced to the NCAA Championships, finishing 20th.
For her efforts, Lewellen was named the ACC Coach of the Year for the third time during her career.
The 2014-15 season will always be a memorable one for Lewellen. The Cavaliers shot 27-under to win the ACC title by a whopping 26strokes. UVa placed three players on the all-conference team for the first time, Lewellen received ACC Coach of the Year honors and the team advanced to the NCAA Championships, finishing 20th.
In 2013-14, Lewellen's squad finished 14th at the NCAA Championships despite not having a single player on the roster who earned all-confernece honors during the season. UVa was the runner-up at the ACC Championships.
Lewellen has directed Virginia to a number of outstanding accomplishments during her tenure and helped make the Cavaliers a team that is annually ranked among the tops in the nation.
One recent example of that came during the spring of 2013, when senior Brittany Altomare became the first UVa player to win the ACC individual championship and also earn first-team All-America honors.
During Lewellen's tenure, the Cavaliers have enjoyed their greatest success at the NCAA Championships.
In 2012, behind the eighth-place finish of sophomore Portland Rosen, the Cavaliers placed fourth for the second consecutive season. Rosen received honorable mention All-America honors while Altomare was named a second-team All-American.
During her tenure at Virginia, Lewellen's teams have placed fourth (2012 & 2011), eighth (2009), 12th (2008), 13th (2010) and 14th (2014) at the NCAA Championships. The only other schools to finish in the top-14 of the NCAA Championships over the same period of time are UCLA, Purdue, USC and Alabama.
Lewellen was recognized by the LPGA as its East Region college coach of the year in 2012 after also receiving the award in 2011 and 2010. In 2011 she was also named the National College Coach of the Year by the LPGA.
In 2011 Lewellen watched her first class of recruits graduate and led the Cavaliers to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Championships, at that time the best showing in program history.
There were plenty of other highlights during the 2010-11 season. The Cavaliers won the Golfweek Conference Challenge and finished in the top four in eight of 12 tournaments, including the ACC Championships and NCAA West Regional.
Altomare placed first at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and The Landfall Tradition on the way to earning second-team All-America honors. Calle Nielson also picked up All-America accolades for the third time in her career. UVa finished the season ranked No. 5 by Golfstat and No. 7 by Golfweek.
In 2009-10 Lewellen guided a team that featured three freshmen players in its lineup to a 13th place finish at the NCAA Championships. UVa finished the season ranked No. 11 in the final Golfweek standings.
Virginia was the runner-up at the ACC Championships behind the second-place finishes of freshman Brittany Altomare and junior Calle Nielson.
Both players earned All-America honors as Nielson finished first at the NCAA West Regional and Altomare was 15th at the NCAA Championships.
In 2008-09 Lewellen was named the East Region Coach of the Year after guiding the Cavaliers to a best-ever eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Her team produced three players that earned some form of All-America recognition. Ranked in the top-five of the collegiate golf polls most of the season, the Cavaliers won the LSU Golf Classic and finished in the top four in eight of 11 tournaments during the season.
In 2008, her first year as the Virginia women's golf coach, Lewellen had a big impact on the program that is still in its first decade of competition. The highly energetic Lewellen saw her team placed 12th at the NCAA Championships.
That was not the only hallmark moment during the season. The Cavaliers made a strong showing at the NCAA East Regional, placing fifth overall to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships. For her efforts, Lewellen was named the ACC Coach of the Year.
Lewellen came to Virginia after spending two seasons as the head women's coach at East Carolina. She led the Pirates to the program's first ever Conference USA Championship in 2006 and a runner-up finish in 2007. Her 2006 squad qualified for the NCAA East Regional, the third time a team from ECU reached NCAA postseason play. In 2007 the Pirate squad qualified an individual competitor for the NCAA East Regional.
Before taking over the program at East Carolina, Lewellen served as both the head men's and women's coach at The Citadel for the 2003-04 season.
Lewellen, who competed at North Carolina from 1990-93 under her maiden name of Byham, was a two-time All-ACC performer during her junior and senior seasons. In 1993 she earned first-team All-America honors from the National Golf Coaches Association, only the second Tar Heel golfer to achieve that honor. As a senior, she won medalist honors at the NCAA East Regional Championships and helped North Carolina to its second straight eighth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Her score of 3-under 213 at the NCAA East Regional still ranks as one of the 10 lowest tournament scores in Tar Heel history.
During her collegiate career Lewellen won a total of three tournaments, including the Lady Tar Heel Classic in 1992 and the Woodbridge Collegiate in 1993. In 2003 she was honored as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Women's Golf Team. She was mentored at UNC by legendary coach Dot Gunnells.
Lewellen earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications and psychology from North Carolina in 1993.
After graduation, Lewellen spent one season on the Women's European Professional Golf Tour (1994-95) before gaining full membership status on the Future's Professional Golf Tour from 1997 to 1999. She claimed her first tour victory at the Briarwood Invitational in 1997. She has also competed in events on the LPGA tour from 1993 to 1997.
Lewellen's role as a golf instructor dates back to her undergraduate days when she worked as a teacher and counselor at North Carolina's Golf School from 1992 to 1994. From 1995 to 1997 she worked as the teaching professional at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C. In 1997, she was nominated as North Carolina's Favorite Golf Teacher in Golf For Women Magazine. Lewellen served as the tournament director for the 2001 Carolina Celebrity Classic in Raleigh, N.C.
Lewellen was named East Carolina's women's head coach on Jan. 10, 2006, after Pirate coach Kevin Williams resigned at mid-season to become the head professional at Walnut Creek Country Club in Goldsboro, N.C.
Lewellen has appeared on The Golf Channel's reality shot "The Big Break" twice. The series allows competitors the chance to play in an LPGA tournament. In 2006 she was a member of the cast for "Big Break V: Hawaii" that was played at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu. In 2007 she participated in "Big Break: The Reunion" which began airing in February.
Lewellen was born in Salisbury, Md. and grew up in Raleigh, N.C., She won back-to-back North Carolina State girls junior championships. While attending Broughton High School, she earned all-conference honors while competing for the boy's team.
She and her husband John, an Episcopal minister, have two sons, Jack and Simon.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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