Doane College and Wilderness Ridge Golf Course, in conjunction with the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Holiday Inn Downtown, will bring the 2013 and 2014 NAIA Women's Golf National Championships to Lincoln.
The NAIA awarded the group the host berth for the upcoming two years after a site check in early May. There were three finalists for the bid which included Doane's. This will mark the first time that the NAIA Golf Championship, men or women, has been held in Nebraska.
With the bid, Doane will also receive a host berth to the NAIA Championship Meet for the next two years. The Tigers have made progress in the conference standings in recent years, finishing sixth this past season. Wilderness Ridge GC has been the site of several Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Tournament rounds as well as the Doane Invitational. The Tigers will host their invitational in September 2012 and the Second Round of the GPAC Tournament in October.
"It is an amazing opportunity to host a national championship and it will be a wonderful experience for our program and players," Doane Head Coach Jeannine Foster commented. "I want to thank the NAIA for granting Wilderness Ridge, the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, Holiday Inn Downtown and Doane College the opportunity to display women's golf at a championship level in Nebraska."
The Tigers last qualified for the NAIA Women's Golf National Championships in 1998 when the championship was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Doane placed third at regionals that year to qualify for the first and only time in school history. According to archives, 1991-92 was the first organized season for women's golf at Doane.
The state of Nebraska is no stranger to hosting NAIA championships. From 1956-67, the men's cross country championship meet was held in Omaha as was the 1969 wrestling championship. The NAIA Softball Championships were held in Kearney for three years, 1982-83 and 1987. Most recently, Lincoln hosted the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships from 1995-2000.
May 2013 will mark the first time Doane has served as a host for a NAIA Championship event. The Tiger athletic program has played host to NAIA playoff games in football and volleyball but not an entire championship. The bid comes on the heels of one of the best athletic seasons in school history in which 10 of the 18 varsity sports finished in the Top Two of the GPAC with seven player-of-the-year honors received. The last time Doane had such a strong athletics season was in 1997-98, also the school year the women's golf team qualified for nationals.
"Doane College is excited to partner with the NAIA, the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wilderness Ridge and the Holiday Inn Downtown to bring this NAIA championship to Lincoln," Doane Athletic Director Greg Heier said. "The NAIA National Championship for women's golf is an outstanding opportunity to showcase the outstanding golf played in the NAIA as well as the commitment of the NAIA and Doane College to the NAIA's Champions of Character initiatives. Being selected as host of this championship is a true honor capping a historic and award winning year for Doane athletics."
The NAIA Championship for women's golf has been held in Greensville, Tennessee, the past two years. The 2012 NAIA National Champion was the University of British Columbia with a four-round team score of 1,211. They edged Savannah College of Art and Design (Ga.) by two strokes and Embry-Riddle University (Fla.) by four strokes.
Video from Today's Press Conference in Lincoln
(Video Courtesy of the Doane Tiger Sports Network)
*Pictured are Doane Athletic Director Greg Heier and Women's Golf Coach Jeannine Foster at Tuesday's Press Conference in Lincoln