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Karen Bahnsen
Position: Head Coach
Hometown: Mobile, Ala.
High School: McGill-Toolen HS
Alma Mater: LSU
Graduating Year: 1984
Experience: 25 Years
Email: kbahnse@lsu.edu
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Bahnsen Videos
Karen Bahnsen Bio
Courtesy: LSUsports.net (@LSUsports)
Release: 04/02/2015

31st Season

It is almost impossible to talk about the history of LSU women’s golf and not include the name Karen Bahnsen.

Most know her as the head coach of the Lady Tigers for 31 seasons. She is the dean of Southeastern Conference women’s golf coaches and the second longest tenured women’s coach in school history.

But her touch on the LSU program extends beyond her coaching years. She was the first recruit of a fledgling women’s golf program from Mobile’s McGill-Toolen High School where in 1979 she was a high school All-American. She helped her school to two state titles and won an individual title as a senior.

She learned the game from her mom, June Mayson, who was an LPGA teaching professional, a four-time Alabama state women’s champion and a college head coach at South Alabama.

After her playing days at LSU which included the team’s first victory and appearances in both the AIAW and NCAA Tournament, then Coach Buddy Alexander (who was by the time she finished playing coaching both the men’s and women’s golf teams at the time) offered her the chance to be the head coach of the Lady Tigers.

Bahnsen accepted and Alexander turned over the keys to the fledgling program to the young woman who would lead LSU from a team that had to go to the campus bookstore for matching shirts for the first tournament the team played at the start of the program to one that is annually competing at the highest level in women’s collegiate golf

In her 31 seasons, the numbers show her success:
21 All-Americans
47 All-SEC
39 Team Tournament Titles
42 Individual Tournament Titles
11 Top 3 Finishes in the SEC Championship
20 appearances in the NCAA Regionals (since 1993 when regionals started)
11 appearances in the NCAA Championships (since 1986)
7 top 10 finishes in the NCAA Championships (2 thirds)
2 winners of the prestigious LPGA Dinah Shore Award

Here are some equally impressive off-the-course numbers:
89 SEC Academic Honor Roll Selections
29 Women’s Golf Coaches Association Academic Scholars

The women’s golf team in 2010 was recognized as just one of three teams at LSU to earn an NCAA Public Recognition Award for exception work in this classroom. The awards are given annually to teams scoring in the top 10 percent in each sport with their Academic Progress Rate (APR).

Many years, the team has posted one of the highest GPA for athletic teams at LSU and was honored again in 2015 with the highest GPA among sports teams.

Just a few of the many players who have been a part of Bahnsen’s legacy at LSU are:

Jenny Lidback – No. 1 player in college golf in 1986, winner of record seven tournaments in one year … Went on to win an LPGA Major and was the first women’s golfer in the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jackie Gallagher-Smith – played for LSU in 1980s and produced a long and steady career on the LPGA Tour which included an LPGA victory.
Three Amigas – Ashley Winn, Michelle Louviere, Laura Moore – 1995-98, led LSU to a succession of NCAA appearances (including fifth place in 1998), a No. 1 ranking and 9 tournament titles.
Meredith Duncan – Won three major amateur titles in 2001 including the USGA Women’s Amateur … Member of the 2001 Curtis Cup team … Winner of the Dinah Shore Award.
Lisette Lee – Also winner of the Dinah Shore Award.
Austin Ernst – Winner of the 2011 NCAA Championship as a freshman … Winner on the LPGA Tour.
Katy Harris, Tessa Teachman – Both appeared in Golf Channel’s Big Break in 2014 and both earned A-A honors during their respective times at LSU.

Ernst’s individual win in the Championships helped Bahnsen claim her best third-place finish in the NCAAs and LSU repeated it again in 2012, missing the title by just two shots.

Two of her former assistants – Marci Kornegay and Golda Borst – are now head coaches. Former LSU player, Alexis Rather, serves as Bahnsen’s assistant coach.

In 2015, Bahnsen and the Lady Tigers have concluded a stretch of tournament that rivals some of the best years in program history. In the final five tournaments of the regular season, the Lady Tigers have finished 1-2-1-2-1. The tournament wins came at The Alamo Invitational in San Antonio, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the LSU Tiger Golf Classic. Three players (Madelene Sagstrom, Caroline Nistrup, Elise Bradley) have won individual titles and entering the SEC Tournament, LSU is ranked No. 6 in the Golfweek performance charts as a team with those three players ranked in the top 25 in the country.

In 2008, Bahnsen was inducted into the national Women’s Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame and in 2015 joins her mother as the first mother-daughter combination to be inducted into their hometown Mobile Sports Hall of Fame. Odds are there will be more Hall of Fame honors for Bahnsen in her future.

Bahnsen is married to LSU Senior Associate Athletic Director David “Bo” Bahnsen. They have two children, son Darren (26, an LSU graduate and former LSU basketball manager) and daughter, Devin (23).

The Bahnsen File
Date of Birth: Oct. 11, 1960
Husband: David “Bo” Bahnsen, LSU Sr. Associate AD
Children: Darren 26, Devin 23
High School: McGill Toolen, Mobile, Ala.
College: BA, LSU, 1984

1979 -- High School All-American; National High School Champion
1980-83 -- Four-year letter winner at LSU, first golf signee; AIAW Tournament participant, 1980-81; NCAA Tournament participant, 1982
1986 -- SEC Coach of the Year; NGCA South Region Coach of the Year; Team finished ninth at the NCAA Division I Championships
1992 -- Team won Southeastern Conference Championship Tournament
1994 -- Member, La. Team, SE Women's Amateur Championships
1995 -- Member, La. Team, SEC Women's Amateur Championships; SEC Coach of the Year; Winning Co-Coach, East-West All-Star NCAA Match
1996 -- Team finished eighth at the NCAA Division I Championships
1997 -- NGCA South Region Coach of the Year
1998 -- Team finished fifth at the NCAA Division I Championships
1999 -- Team finished 10th at the NCAA Division I Championships
2000 -- Team finished 10th at the NCAA Division I Championships
2001 -- Team finished 12th at the NCAA Division I Championships
2006 -- Team finished 23rd at the NCAA Division I Championships; LSWA Louisiana Women's Golf Coach of the Year
2007 -- LSWA Louisiana Women's Golf Coach of the Year
2008 -- Team finished 15th at the NCAA Division I Championships; LSWA Louisiana Women's Golf Coach of the Year; Inducted into NGCA Hall of Fame
2009 -- Team finished 12th at the NCAA Division I Championships
2011 -- Team finished 3rd at the NCAA Division I Championships; LSWA Louisiana Women's Golf Coach of the Year
2012 -- Team finished 3rd at the NCAA Division 1 Championships; LSWA Louisiana Women's Golf Coach of the Year.

Bahnsen's Year-by-Year Coaching Record

Year Won Lost Tied Pct. Team Titles Notes
1984-85 60 80 1 .441 1  
1985-86 131 15 0 .897 5 9th in NCAA Championships
1986-87 67 45 0 .598 1  
1987-88 94 49 1 .653 1  
1988-89 55 60 3 .479 0  
1989-90 86 39 4 .682 1  
1990-91 98 28 1 .772 2  
1991-92 73 50 0 .593 2 SEC Champions
1992-93 55 80 0 .407 0 NCAA Regional Participant
1993-94 61 65 1 .480 1  
1994-95 89 59 2 .593 2 NCAA Regional Participant
1995-96 138 33 1 .805 3 8th in NCAA Championships
1996-97 120 31 0 .795 3 NCAA Regional Participant
1997-98 137 34 3 .796 1 5th in NCAA Championships
1998-99 110 62 0 .639 0 10th in NCAA Championships
1999-2000 129 38 0 .772 1 10th in NCAA Championships
2000-01 110 50 4 .683 1 12th in NCAA Championships
2001-02 89 67 1 .587 0 NCAA Regional Participant
2002-03 24 95 3 .209 0  
2003-04 98 37 2 .715 1 NCAA Regional Participant
2004-05 118 32 2 .776 2 NCAA Regional Participant
2005-06 91 77 0 .542 0 23rd in NCAA Championships
2006-07 87 83 3 .511 0 NCAA Regional Participant
2007-08 119 81 0 .595 0 15th in NCAA Championships
2008-09 149 41 0 .784 2 12th in NCAA Championships
2009-10 104 62 3 .624 1 NCAA Regional Participant
2010-11 153 45 1 .771 1 3rd in NCAA Championships
2011-12 147 47 0 .758 4 3rd in NCAA Championships
2012-13 89 74 5 .545 0 NCAA Regional Participant
2013-14 101 58 2 .634 0 NCAA Regional Participant
2014-15            
Totals 2879 1600 43 .641 36 11 NCAA Appearances; 20 NCAA Regional Appearances
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