Courtesy: Jeri Thorpe, Athletic Media Relations
-Four NCAA Championship appearances with the program’s best showing
-Six consecutive NCAA Regional appearances with the program’s best showing
-Three runner-up finishes and five top five finishes at the SEC Championships
-Two NCAA Public Recognition Awards (2008, 2009) for teams in the top 10 percent for APR
-Hundreds of hours in community service activities
Shauna Estes-Taylor always knew she wanted to be a women’s golf coach. From her playing days as a prepster working with Mike Adams who would go on to become her assistant at Arkansas, through her experiences as one of the best collegiate golfers in the country at the University of Georgia, Estes-Taylor has been preparing for her time in the first chair.
"Arkansas is a special place and I’m excited to lead this program to even greater heights,” Estes-Taylor said when hired after five seasons as a Razorback assistant. “This team, community and University are very dear to my heart and I feel fortunate to be a part of this program.”
The fourth head coach in program history, Estes-Taylor wasted no time picking up the reigns from mentor, friend and former Bulldog Kelley Hester who returned to her alma mater after five seasons at Arkansas.
As a head coach for the Razorbacks, Estes-Taylor has coached three players to six All-American honors, 11 All-Southeastern Conference selections including the 2008 SEC Golfer of the Year (Stacy Lewis) and the 2011 SEC Co-Freshman of the Year (Emily Tubert)and guided the team to five tournament titles and 12 individual medalist honors.
A Bulldog to Start
The former Shauna Estes was more than a standout student-athlete at Georgia. She was part of the winning tradition of some of the best collegiate golfers and teams during her four-year career. A four-time All-American and All-SEC player, Estes-Taylor’s honors include 1997 SEC Women’s Golf Freshman of the Year and the 1997 and 2000 SEC Women’s Golf Player of the Year honors. She is still tied for the most individual wins for the Bulldogs with seven including the 1997 and 1999 SEC title. Estes-Taylor finished a personal-best third at the 1999 NCAA Championship and paced the Bulldogs to four top 10 team appearances on the biggest stage for college golf. Her name remains sprinkled throughout the record books at her alma mater.
A Bright FUTURE
Estes-Taylor left college golf to try her hand on the professional circuit. She spent three seasons playing in the DURAMED Futures Tour, playing in 10 events in 2000, 19 in 2001 and 10 in 2002. She made 22 cuts and had three top 10 finishes.
Woo Pig Sooie
As her professional playing career came to a close, Estes-Taylor returned to the collegiate ranks in January 2003, becoming Hester’s assistant at Arkansas. That season, Arkansas returned to the NCAA Regional Championship making the program’s second-ever appearance in the postseason. It would start a run of 10 consecutive NCAA Regional appearances for the Razorbacks.
Another important development in the life of Estes-Taylor and the history of the Razorbacks happened around the same time. The Razorback coaching staff recruited a player from The Woodlands, Texas, named Stacy Lewis.
Lewis had a good junior season but recurring problems with scoliosis (a curvature of the spine) forced the budding star to have back surgery. Despite the seeming career-ending circumstances, the Razorbacks offered and honored their offer to Lewis to come to Arkansas.
Lewis accepted the offer and redshirted her first season with the Razorbacks. It was during this rehab year that Lewis hit the putting green with Estes-Taylor and the duo fine-tuned the short game of the player who would go on to be one of the best to play the game at Arkansas.
Estes-Taylor and Lewis formed a bond that remains to this day. Estes-Taylor was the assistant coach when Lewis won the 2005 SEC Individual title, earned Freshman of the Year honors and for the 2007 NCAA National Title. It was that season that Estes-Taylor earned National Golf Coaches Association Assistant Golf Coach of the Year honors.
“It’s an honor to be recognized by other coaches for doing a good job,” said Estes-Taylor said at the time. “I really feel prepared to lead a golf team. My goal from the beginning was to gain the experience necessary to become a head coach. Kelley (Hester) has given me this great opportunity to grow as a person and to develop into a coach. I feel this award is another great stepping stone towards my ultimate goal of becoming a head coach.”
Little did Estes-Taylor know the foreshadowing of her comments. Just two weeks later, she became the head coach of the Razorbacks.
Firmly seated in the first chair, Estes-Taylor reached out to one of her former coaches, Mike Adams, convincing him to leave Hilton Head, S.C., to join her in Fayetteville. It has proven to be a winning combination with the pair guiding Arkansas to six consecutive NCAA Regional appearances including a program-best fourth-place finish in 2011.
Estes-Taylor and Adams have also paced the Razorbacks to four NCAA Championship appearances and again recorded the program’s best showing with a tie for fifth place in 2011.
Finally, the tandem has teamed to lead Arkansas to five consecutive top five finishes at the Southeastern Conference Championship (2008-2012) including a program-best second-place finish in 2008 and 2012 and a tie for second in 2009.
Estes-Taylor was inducted into the NGCA Players Hall of Fame in 2009 capping off a successful season at Arkansas. Born in Orangeburg, S.C., Estes was a 2000 graduate of Georgia with a degree in turf grass management. Estes is married to Adam Taylor of Harrisburg, Ill. Taylor is a sports performance director at the Shoulder Center of Arkansas, and the couple resides in Fayetteville with their bulldogs, Layla and Moe.
The Future is Bright
There really is no limit to what Estes-Taylor expects to accomplish at Arkansas. She has put the Razorbacks on the college golf map and has made Arkansas a destination for the country’s elite players. As the 2013-14 season begins, Estes-Taylor welcomes players from four states and two countries to the roster. She has the Razorbacks poised to move up in the rankings, keep the NCAA Regional appearance streak alive and return to the NCAA Championship. Stay tuned and see what’s next!
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