Peer Award

Ahead of retirement in spring, CU women’s golf coach Anne Kelly earns national honor for lifetime contributions

By Gary Baines – 12/5/2023

In her 27th and final season before retiring as head coach of the University of Colorado women’s golf team, Anne Kelly is exiting with a prestigious national honor.

The Women’s Golf Coaches Association announced on Tuesday that Kelly is the recipient of the Kim Evans Award for lifetime contributions to the sport. She accepted the award during the WGCA Member Convention in Las Vegas.

The Evans honor is given annually “to the college or high school coach, and Class A PGA Professional, whose support of the game through teaching, coaching and involvement in the community has helped ensure the continued growth of golf, and who represents the finest qualities the sport has to offer.” It’s named for a former women’s golf coach at Auburn (1994-2015) and a WGCA Hall of Famer (2008). Evans was the WGCA National Coach of the Year for the 2001-02 season.

This is the sixth year the Kim Evans Award has been presented.

“I’m very honored to receive the Kim Evans Award,” Kelly said. “I’ve always respected Kim as a coach and PGA member and admire her dedication and commitment to the game. Golf has been a huge part of my life and I feel so fortunate to be a member of the WGCA and the PGA, two organizations that do a great job in promoting the game and women in golf.”

Kelly announced in October that the 2023-24 season will be her last as head coach of the CU women’s program. Having started at CU in 1997, the Aspen native is the longest-serving female head coach in CU sports history.

Kelly is just the second women’s golf head coach at CU, following Justi Rae Miller (1994-97). Over her first 26 years on the job, Kelly has led Buffs teams to two NCAA national championship tournaments — they placed 18th in 2012 and 19th in 2018 — and eight NCAA Regionals, the most recent coming in 2018. Among her players who have gone on to play on the LPGA Tour are Jenny Coleman, Esther Lee and Robyn Choi. 

Madeleine Sheils, currently the associate head coach of the women’s team, will become the head coach following the 2023-24 season.

Kelly played her own college golf at Texas Christian University, and she helped the Horned Frogs win the NCAA title in 1983. In fact, that team recently was inducted into the TCU Athletics Hall of Fame. Kelly played 131 events on the LPGA Tour from 1985-93 (best finish: 20th place) before becoming a teaching professional in the early 1990s. Prior to being hired at CU, she served as head coach at North Carolina-Greensboro for a year and a half, earning Big South Coach of the Year honors in 1997.

Kelly’s Buffs are currently ranked No. 64 nationally by Spikemark. After the winter break, they’ll begin the spring portion of their schedule Feb. 12-13 at the San Diego State Classic in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

About the Writer: Gary Baines has covered golf in Colorado continuously since 1983. He was a sports writer at the Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, then the sports editor there, and has written regularly for since 2009. He was inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in 2022. He owns and operates