ATLANTA-Following a nationwide search, Georgia State has named Jessica Steward as the Panthers next women’s golf head coach. Steward becomes just the second head coach in program history following four seasons at Lamar in Beaumont, Texas.
Steward led Lamar to the 2016 Southland Conference Championship title in just her first year as head coach before earning Southland Conference Coach of the Year accolades.
In 2017, Steward was again recognized among her peers as the LPGA's Central Section Coach of the Year.
In her four years at Lamar, Steward coached two Southland Conference Players of the Year, one SLC Student-Athlete of the Year, one conference Freshman of the Year, and two conference Newcomers of the Year. In total, Steward has mentored five All-Southland First-Team selections in addition to three Second Team and four Honorable Mentions.
“We are excited to welcome Jessica to Georgia State,” Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb said. “She is a successful head coach and a former professional touring pro who will elevate the competitiveness of our team. With the completion of our practice facility at Bobby Jones Golf Course and our access to Eagle’s Landing, we have a high ceiling for our golf program. I also thank Cathy Mant for her many years of dedicated service to Georgia State and look forward to this transition.”
In four years, Steward coached the Cardinals to ten team tournament titles and seven runner-up finishes. She also led individual players to 15 low-medalist honors (including ties). Throughout 40 stroke play events, Steward's golfers have earned 46 top-five finishes.
This past season, the Cardinals garnered five top 3 team finishes, including a tournament title at the Babs Steffens Invitational.
"I'm especially grateful to Charlie Cobb, Doug Justice, and Kelcey Roegiers for granting me this exciting opportunity and entrusting me with the future of their women's golf program,” Steward said. “With all of the growth taking place at Georgia State University and within the athletic department, it's a great time to be a Panther and I'm confident we can achieve new heights of success in the near future.
"Access to first-class facilities, along with the new practice building that will be completed soon, and an exciting downtown Atlanta campus experience for students means that all of the pieces are in place for this program to be wildly successful. I'm looking forward to continuing the well-respected legacy of Coach Mant and leading GSU women's golf into the future."
Steward was also instrumental in reviving the Cardinal Challenge Golf Tournament, at the Beaumont Country Club, which saw Lamar win the title in 2017.
Steward came to Beaumont after spending the previous seven seasons as the Women’s Head Coach at Purdue-Fort Wayne (formerly known as IPFW) where she guided the Mastodon program to its most successful run in school history. PFW continued its improvement under Steward’s guidance, culminating in record-setting seasons for both the team and individual season stroke averages during her final two years.
The Mastodons also posted their highest finish at the Summit League Championships in 2014. Steward’s teams accounted for four of the top-five team scores in school history for 18, 36 and 54 holes. During the 2013-14 campaign, Steward coached PFW to its first tournament win in program history at the 2014 Bulldog Florida Invitational, along with the program’s first individual medalist.
A certified Class A LPGA teaching professional, Steward’s athletes have also proven themselves in the classroom. PFW was recognized for posting one of the top-10 team GPAs in the country following the 2012-13 season. Steward has also placed nine players to the WGCA Scholar All-American list during her first three seasons at Lamar, in addition to the 16 honorees, she mentored at IPFW.
Originally from Mystic, Conn., Steward played high school golf on the boys’ team at Fitch Senior High School. She won the New England High School Girls’ Championship and was named All-State and All-New England during her senior season. Steward started her collegiate career at Boston College, where she averaged 79.62 strokes per round, finishing inside of the top-10 in five of her 11 tournaments.
She transferred to Miami after her opening college season and played her final three collegiate seasons with the Hurricanes. During her time in Miami, Steward was ranked as high as No. 33 nationally by Golfstat. A former team captain, Steward was named Academic All-ACC while recording the lowest two and three-round tournament scores in program history at 7-under par as a junior.
Steward graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami in 2008 in Sport Administration with a minor in Business Management. She has since earned a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership and Higher Education Administration from the University St. Francis (Ind.).