With over 14 years of Division I head coaching experience, Joni Stephens was tabbed Head Women’s Golf Coach at ULM in July, 2016.
“I would like to thank ULM President Nick Bruno, Director of Athletics Brian Wickstrom, Director of Golf Tim Baldwin, and the rest of the search committee for this appointment. My family has long-standing ties to the ULM community, so it is exciting to be able to return to Monroe. I feel fortunate to be part of the tradition of ULM Athletics and to have the opportunity to develop a nationally competitive women's golf program within the Sun Belt Conference,” said Stephens.
Stephens has connections to the school as her father graduated and taught geography at ULM and her Uncle is also an alum. Her mother worked in the sports information department and her brother played both baseball and football at ULM.
“I was impressed with the support and commitment expressed by the ULM administration and the Monroe/West Monroe/Ouachita Parish golf boosters toward moving the golf programs forward. Tim Baldwin has done some great work this past year in getting the necessary resources and facilities in place to enable recruitment of high-level golfers and player development of our current student-athletes, and the returning players are committed to doing what is necessary to be successful and build a strong, quality program. I am looking forward to being a ULM Warhawk,” said Stephens.
Stephens takes over a young ULM roster that consisted of four juniors and three freshmen in 2015-16.
Before coming to ULM, Stephens spent two seasons as Head Women’s Golf Coach at the University of Montana. She coached eight Big Sky Conference Golfer of the Week winners and six Big Sky All-Conference honorees.
As a team, she coached the Grizzlies to one first-place and three second-place finishes. She set a pair of school records with an 878 low team 54-hole score, and a 212 low individual 54-hole score. Stephens also coached three first-place individual medalists.
From the fall of 2013 to May of 2015, Montana’s NCAA Golfstaf ranking improved from 170 to 132. The team scoring average also dropped from 314.0 to 305.8 during that span. Montana finished top-five at the conference meet both seasons she was at the helm.
Prior to Montana, Stephens served as head Women’s Golf Coach at Eastern Kentucky University for 12 seasons. She was honored as the 2005 Ohio Valley Conference Golf Coach of the Year and coached 17 All-OVC Golfers.
Stephens made EKU a fixture at the top of the conference. She notched four top-three finishes including a pair of second-place showings in her last six OVC Championships.
“I am excited to welcome Coach Stephens to the ULM family. She brings great experience to our program. A fantastic teacher, coach and mentor for student-athletes. I am excited to watch our women’s golf program taken to the next level,” said Wickstrom, Director of Athletics.
Stephens earned her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education/Dance and her Master’s degree in Physical Education Teaching and Coaching from Eastern Kentucky. She is married to her husband Pat and has three sons, Daniel, Ben and Joseph; two daughters-in-law, Mindy and Leah, and three grandchildren, Carter, Cara and Dexter.