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Rice adds women’s golf after alumna donation

By Kathleen Ortiz     5/17/24 4:58pm

Four months after the reinstatement of Rice’s diving team, athletic director Tommy McClelland announced a second sport coming to South Main in the near future. Rice will have a women’s golf team starting in the 2026-27 academic year.

A $5 million commitment from former Rice women’s basketball player Lynn Elsenhans and her husband John made the new team a reality. Elsenhans made it clear to McClelland that she wanted her endowment to support women’s golf.

“College golf is one of the sports that's both an individual sport and a team sport, and golf is a game in which you learn humility and it builds character," Lynn said in an interview with Rice Athletics. “It's the only sport in which you call penalties on yourself. John and I wanted to make this gift to have top scholars who play golf have the opportunity to choose Rice.”

Elsenhans will lead the new women’s golf interest group at Rice, called the Women's Golf Excellence Fund, and McClelland says he hopes it will provide others the opportunity to support the new golf team. 

“Lynn is going to lead in this effort, but I know she wants others to join in this effort so that we can ensure the quality of success that we want and that we know is possible from a Rice women's golf program,” McClelland said to Rice Athletics.

Moving forward, the athletics department will begin to search for Rice’s first women’s golf head coach, who will then recruit the inaugural class of women golfers at Rice. In a few months, Rice will announce the future home course for the team, according to Rice Athletics.

“I hope that [Rice] can see this as an investment in a game that builds character in young people and that it's fitting for Rice to have women's golf, in that top academic institutions have proven that they can be competitive in this sport. There's no reason why we can't be competitive in this sport,” Elsenhans said.

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