Nolan Alexander / Kennesaw State University
KENNESAW, Ga. – Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Milton Overton announced Erin Thorne as the next women’s golf head coach Wednesday. Thorne, originally from Bracebrdge, Ontario, joins KSU from Wingate University, where she most recently served as the men’s and women’s head golf coach and director of student-athlete development. She led the Bulldogs to six tournament championships, eight individual medalists, a South Atlantic Conference (SAC) championship and was a three-time SAC Coach of the Year.
“I’m excited to announce Erin Thorne to lead our women’s golf program,” said Overton. “She is a proven winner and has demonstrated a history that aligns with our mission to ‘build champions in the classroom, on the field, in the community and in life with academic integrity and excellence.’ Our women’s golf program has set the standard of excellence in the ASUN Conference and has performed against the best the nation has to offer. Coach Thorne has goals to further the program and lead our student-athletes to immense success.”
Thorne began to lead the men’s program in May 2020 but had been at the helm of the women’s program since January 2016. She led Wingate to a No. 21 ranking in the most recent WGCA coaches’ top-25 poll. Under her tutelage, Thorne has improved the team scoring average by 18 shots to the current program record of 299. In addition, she has mentored three All-Americans, two SAC Players of the Year, and a SAC Freshman of the Year.
Her teams have excelled academically with a CoSIDA Academic All-America honor and 17 WGCA Scholar-Athletes.
“I’m very excited to join KSU and continue to build upon the yearly success of the women’s golf program,” said Thorne. “There is already an established tradition of winning in the ASUN, but we’ll set our sights on taking the next step as a program.”
Earlier this month, Wingate All-American Hailey McLaughlin tied for ninth place in the 2021 NCAA Division II South Regional women’s golf tournament after she won 2021 South Atlantic Conference medalist honors. As a team, Wingate tied for second in the SAC tournament.
In the shortened 2019-20 season, McLaughlin was named the 2020 SAC Freshman of the Year, and the Bulldogs won two events and posted a pair of second-place finishes. Wingate’s success was celebrated with Thorne’s third SAC Coach of the Year honor.
The year prior, Mind Puangcharoen was a WGCA All-American and the 2019 SAC Golfer of the Year.
2018 was a banner year for Thorne. She led Wingate to the SAC championship and received SAC Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. The Bulldogs dominated the field with a 26-stroke victory over runner-up Queens University. Individually, Puangcharoen was the SAC individual medalist with a 54-hole total of 232. Wingate placed three on the all-tournament first team with Puangcharoen, Diana McDonald, and Laura Nunez Rodriguez.
In the regular season, the Bulldogs finished no lower than fourth in any of their tournaments, including a winning the title at the Myrtle Beach Intercollegiate. Thorne had three earn postseason honors, led by McDonald as the SAC Golfer of the Year, while Puangcharoen and Nunez Rodriguez found spots on the second and honorable mention All-SAC teams, respectively.
In 2017, Thorne was voted the SAC women’s golf Coach of the Year after a school-record five Wingate student-athletes were named to the All-SAC teams. Thorne helped the Bulldogs win the 2017 Wingate Intercollegiate Challenge and had three second-place showings during the 2016-17 season.
She began her career at Wingate as a graduate assistant in July 2014 and served as acting head coach while she earned her Master of Arts in sports management in 2015.
Prior to Wingate, Thorne was the graduate assistant women’s golf coach at Ohio Dominican University for one year. She helped make history when Jamie Ellison qualified for the NCAA Division II East Regional as the first ODU female golfer to qualify for post-season play.
She played in every event during her four-year career at Western Michigan University from 2003-07, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in athletic training in 2007. She was named to the Mid-America Conference second team twice, runner-up for the MAC Freshman of the Year, and a four-year member of the MAC Academic Team. In addition, she served as co-captian as a junior and senior.
Thorne played professionally starting in 2007. She competed on the Duramed Futures Tour, the Suncoast Tour and the Canadian Women’s Tour. She became a member of the PGA of Canada in 2007, reaching class A status in 2012.
She coached the junior team for four years as the Assistant Golf Professional at South Muskoka Curling and Golf Club from 2008-13. Thorne was also an apprentice coach with the Golf Association of Ontario for one summer.
Thorne is a member of the Women’s Golf Coaches Association, Golf Coaches Association of America, and the Professional Golf Association of Canada.
What others are saying about Erin Thorne …
“I tip my hat to the administration at Kennesaw State for doing their homework and hiring one of the best young coaches in the country in Erin Thorne. Erin has had success in every endeavor she has ever undertaken, and I know she will have that same success as the head coach at Kennesaw. She will be a tremendous resource to the young women who are fortunate enough to play for her, both on and off the golf course. She is one of the most focused and detailed people I have ever met, and I know her ability to recruit and connect with future players will help take the Kennesaw State women’s golf program to unprecedented heights.” – Brennan Webb, University of Tennessee men’s golf head coach
“Erin exemplifies the best of college golf coaches. She has a tremendous knowledge of the game, outstanding leadership skills, and is 100-percent committed to team and individual growth on and off the golf course.” – Chris Deibel, Ohio Dominican University men’s and women’s golf head coach
“Erin has played a huge part in the great success at Wingate. She is one of the best coaches in the conference and we will miss having her around, but I know she will continue to do amazing things a Kennesaw State.” – Travis Muncy, Lincoln Memorial men’s and women’s golf head coach