Jackie Szymoniak begins her second year as an assistant women's golf coach at Illinois in 2012-13.
In 2011-12, Illinois earned a berth to regionals for the second year in a row and fourth time in school history, tying for 14th at the NCAA West Regional. The Illini placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships, which was the program's best finish since 2002 and top showing at the conference tournament under Slone. The Orange and Blue won a team title to start off the spring and recorded eight top-five team finishes. The Illini also twice set the team school record for a 54-hole tournament total and turned in the top two individual tournament and team single round performances in school history.
Szymoniak spent the 2010-11 season as a full-time assistant coach for the Georgia State women's program after serving as graduate assistant coach during the 2009-10 season. While a graduate assistant coach, Szymoniak obtained her master's degree in sports administration. At Georgia State, Szymoniak guided the Panthers to four collegiate team victories, including the 2010 Colonial Athletic Association Championship. The Panthers also advanced to the NCAA East Regional in 2010 and qualified an individual for the 2011 NCAA East Regional.
Szymoniak graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in speech communication and was a four-year letter winner for the Bulldogs from 2002-06. While at Georgia, Szymoniak took medalist honors at the 2004 Mason Rudolph Championship and recorded top-10 finishes at the 2004 Lady Puerto Rico Classic and the 2006 Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. As a junior, Szymoniak was named the National and SEC Golfer of the Week for her victory at the Mason Rudolph Championship.
Along with Szymoniak's athletic accomplishments, she was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll each of her four years; to the SEC Good Works Team in 2004, 2005, and 2006; and on the Dean's List in 2003 and 2004.
Following graduation, Szymoniak played professionally on the Duramed FUTURES Tour, the second-highest level of women's professional golf, for the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
"We are thrilled to have Jackie join our coaching staff," Slone said. "She is highly motivated to assist in continuing the steady improvement our program has achieved. She brings a strong work ethic and is looking forward to the next phase of our success. Her two years as an assistant coach at the Division I level will be a great asset as will her collegiate and professional playing experience. Jackie was a member of the University of Georgia team that was consistently ranked in the top 10-15 in the nation during her career. She also played on the LPGA Futures Tour and will be able to share valuable information with the team members. Jackie is eager to recruit this summer and is looking forward to working with our girls this fall. After just one day on the job, she has already hit the ground running full steam ahead."
As a junior golfer, Szymoniak was a three-time America Junior Golf Association (AJGA) All-American. She was a 2001 and 2002 AJGA Canon Cup East team member and also winner of five national titles.
Szymoniak has vast experience as a teaching professional, having worked as a golf instructor at summer camps at Westhampton Country Club in Westhampton, N.Y., UGA Men's and Women's Golf Camps in Athens, Ga., and at Canongate at SummerGrove Golf Club in Newnan, Ga., throughout her junior and collegiate years.
"It's exciting to me just to have this opportunity to join the Illini family," Szymoniak said. "I'm excited to be in this environment and to be at a school with such great tradition. I enjoyed the opportunity I had at my previous school and was able to learn a lot, not only as a graduate assistant, but also as a full-time assistant. It let me get into more of the thick of things and more of the daily grind. It sounds like Illinois has a great recruiting class coming in for 2011 and down the road as well. I think we'll be a great team with growth, and hopefully I'll be able to bring my experiences as a collegiate and professional player, teaching and also now coaching for the last two years. I'm really going to work on bringing those experiences to help get the team continuing to move in the right direction, and hopefully sooner than later, contend for some Big Ten and National Championships. I feel that we have all the resources here. Coach Slone has done a great job in her time here and seems to have everybody focused, determined, and really willing to put forth the work. I know I have a very competitive spirit and I feel that here as well. I think it's just a matter of time before we break through the ceiling and start reaching some new wonderful heights."
Updated June 2012