Ohio State promoted Therese Hession to its newly created director of golf position for both the men’s and women’s programs. While not the first woman to ever be named director of golf at a Division I school – Patty Post holds the position at Delaware – she’s the first at a Power Five Conference.
And it’s about time.
“We needed something like this, and maybe it will wake some people up,” said Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur.
Hession, 60, has guided the Buckeyes to 10 Big Ten Championships in her 27 seasons in Columbus and led the women’s team to an NCAA Championship appearance in six of the last eight years, including a trip to the quarterfinals in 2017.
When former player Lisa Strom sent a congratulatory text, Hession replied: “It’s amazing what happens when all you try to do is make the people around you better.”
Strom, now head coach at Texas State, played for Hession and worked as an assistant at Ohio State after her LPGA playing career ended.
“Every time you’re around her, you learn something,” said Strom. “She is relentless. She leaves no stone unturned. I think that’s where she’ll bring energy to the men’s program.”
Hession wasn’t in the room when her bosses laid out the plan to men’s coach Jay Moseley.
“I’m not going to lie,” said Hession, “I didn’t know how that was going to go. Jay gave me a big hug and he’s like ‘Let’s do this.’
“That’s it, I’m not looking back.”
Early on at Ohio State, Hession remembers thinking if she could just get a computer she could really make something happen. Same with adding an assistant coach. Another hurdle involved getting an indoor practice facility designed and built for $6 million.
“We had to raise all the money before they’d put a shovel in the ground,” she said.
Now she’s in a position to build models for the men’s program, passing along knowledge she has learned from decades of success. There’s still plenty to learn too.
With so few females coaching men at any level of college golf, Hession’s promotion represents a break in the barrier. It’s the kind of move that could help close the pay gap too.
“It gives me hope that other administrations will realize that there are female leaders among us rising up in the coaching ranks that are ready to lead,” said Strom.
Ready to lead golfers. Period.