KSU golf a family affair for coach, daughter


Photo Courtesy of the Kent State Athletic Department.

Grant Engle

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For Kent State women’s golf coach Mike Morrow and his daughter, senior Kent State golfer Mandi Morrow, golf is the family business.

Mandi is in her senior season with the Flashes, and Mike has been the head coach at Kent State for 13 years.

Under Mike’s regime, the women’s golf team has won every Mid-American Conference Championship since the team’s inception in 1998. Mike has also been named MAC women’s golf coach of the year nine times in that period.

“His record speaks for itself,” Mandi said. “He has a lot of knowledge and experience that most coaches probably don’t have.”

Although Mike has been a golfer and a coach for over 30 years, he never wanted to force the game on any of his three daughters.

“I did just the opposite,” Mike said. “If they wanted it, it was there for them, but if not, that was fine also. They have to have a passion for it to do it properly.”

When it was time for Mandi to commit to a university to play golf, the choice was a pretty obvious one.

“I definitely kept my options open, but I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to play for him and play at Kent State,” Mandi said.

It’s common in sports that coaches are a little tougher on their own children; Mandi chuckled when asked if Mike was a little harder on her than the other golfers.

“Definitely, but that’s kind of how I like it to be,” Mandi said. “I prefer the straightforward approach.”

Mandi had six top 20 finishes in 11 tournaments last season, and Mike said that although she has always shown promise, last season was when she “really became a good golfer.”

“My standards are really high but that was her breakout year,” Mike said. “She worked on her consistency and really learned how to score.”

As far as the remaining portion of Mandi’s career, she isn’t dead set on anything at the moment.

“As of right now I really don’t know what I want to do,” Mandi said. “It depends on how this season goes. I know that I want to stay with golf, whether it’s playing professionally, coaching or working at a golf course or country club.”

Mandi said that her personal goal for this season is to win a tournament, but she is much more focused on helping the team achieve its goals.

“I want the team to win another MAC championship, make it past the regionals and compete in the NCAA championship tournament,” Mandi said.

Mike said he is most proud of the person that Mandi has become and that her composure is what impresses him most within her golf game.

“She is very relaxed under pressure,” Mike said. “She looks very calm and controlled out there the majority of the time.”

Mandi said that although golf is in her family, they don’t let it blend into their outside life.

“If something bad happens on the course, we don’t talk about it over dinner,” Mandi said. “What happens on the golf course stays on the golf course.”

Contact Grant Engle at [email protected].