Women’s golf coach retiring after noteworthy tenure

by Jason Freund, Sports Editor

San Diego State women’s golf will be looking for a new head coach after Leslie Spalding announced her retirement on May 26.

Under Spalding, the Aztecs won two Mountain West Conference titles — one in 2015 (the first in program history) and the second in 2019. 

Initially hired before the 2011-2012 season, the 2014-2015 MW Coach of the Year guided the Aztecs to nine regional bids in nine chances and sent at least one Aztec to all nine NCAA regional bids.

Spalding has a smattering of accolades to her name. During her nine-year tenure as head coach, SDSU amassed 44 top-five placements, 11 event titles, 23 individual All-MW honors, 17 weekly/monthly awards, three MW Golfers of the Year and three MW Freshman of the Year.

Spalding is set to retire prior to the start of the 2021-2022 season. A national search for her replacement has already begun.

Prior to Spalding’s tenure, SDSU appeared in only five NCAA Regionals in the 19-year history of the regional format and never won a Mountain West title.

Before coming to SDSU, Spalding was a professional golfer and began her career in 1992, earning exempt status for the LPGA Tour in 1996.

Her LPGA tour spanned nine years and 215 events. A career-low of 64 earned her a third place finish at the 2001 ShopRite Classic, one of seven top-ten finishes in her career.

She ultimately retired from professional golf in 2005 and became the head coach of Montana State University in 2007, a title she held until 2011.

“Leslie set a remarkable level of excellence in all areas,” SDSU athletic director John David Wicker said in a press release. “Her teams competed for conference championships and advanced to NCAA tournament play an incredible seven consecutive seasons. Her student-athletes shined off the course as well both in the classroom and as citizens. Leslie’s impact on those individuals who played for her will be felt for decades to come.”