Michigan State University women’s golf and the name of Mary Fossum are almost synonymous. She coached the Spartans for 25 years which included five straight Big Ten titles and six overall.
A native of Wisconsin, then Mary McMillen broke on the national golf scene at age 19 by defeating famed athlete and amateur Babe Didrickson-Zaharias in the semi-finals of the prestigious Women’s Western Amateur. Although she would lose in the finals to Hall of Famer Louise Suggs, Mary proved she could play with the game’s best players.
She became the first coach of the MSU’s women’s golf team in 1973, joining her husband Bruce who was already the men’s coach. Early on, Fossum demonstrated her coaching mettle. Her teams made six consecutive AIAW National Championship appearances.
Fossum was equally proud of her individual players. During her tenure, she coached six All-Americans and seven Academic All-Americans. Included among those are past and present LPGA Tour players Barb Mucha, Becky Iverson, Sue Ertl, Bonnie Lauer and Jenn (Kangas) Brody.
Several of her players also have gone on to be successful head coaches, including her successor Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, Kathy Teichart and Gina Yoder.
Her honors and recognition include induction into the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame (1988), the National Golf Coaches Hall of Fame (1990) and the Rolex/Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award for outstanding service and contributions in women’s golf (1997). She was inducted into the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.