Renee Slone has been named Illinois Women's Golf Coach.
June 8, 2006
Champaign, Ill. - University of Illinois Director of Athletics Ron Guenther announced today the hiring of Renee Slone as the third Fighting Illini women's golf coach. Slone replaces Paula Smith, who was head coach of the Illinois women's golf team for the past 28 years before retiring at the conclusion of this past season. Slone, formerly Renee Heiken, played for the Illini from 1990-93 and is the most decorated golfer in UI history.
"I am very pleased that Renee has accepted the position as women's golf coach at Illinois," said Guenther. "She was a terrific athlete while attending Illinois as well as an excellent student. Renee has always been an outstanding representative for the University of Illinois. She had a strong career as a collegian and has played on the Tour. Renee grew up in the state, so she is very familiar with the junior tournaments around the state of Illinois and the region."
"I'm looking forward to returning to campus and building upon the foundation established by Coach Smith," said Slone. "I plan to continue to move the team forward and challenge for Big Ten and NCAA titles in the future. The University of Illinois was a very special place for me as a student-athlete. I can't wait to come back to develop the current student-athletes and assist in preparing them for life after college."
The Illinois athletic department is currently constructing the 16,000-square foot Demirjian Golf Practice Facility. Scheduled to be completed in November, the facility will feature large chipping and putting areas, heated hitting bays that open onto an outdoor driving range and full locker rooms, complete with a lounge and study areas for the players.
"It's an exciting time for Illinois golf with the construction of the Demirjian Center taking place," Slone said. "That will be a tremendous asset for the golf program and will be very helpful to the players as we work towards building a championship program."
Slone is still Illinois' career-stroke average leader (75.35) by over two full strokes and owns the top three single-season stroke averages in school history. In addition, she holds four of the top eight single-round scores, eight of the top-10 54-hole scores - including the school record of 212 set in 1993 - and two of the top three 72-hole scores.
After her stellar Illini career, Slone continued playing as a member of the LPGA Tour from 1995-97, accumulating close to $100,000 in career earnings, and also spent time on the Futures Tour.
Following her playing career, Slone, 34, moved into coaching as assistant coach for both the men's and women's golf teams at Bradley University during the 1999-2000 season. The following season, she returned to the University of Illinois and served as an assistant coach under Smith during the spring of 2001 while finishing up her bachelor's degree in business administration-marketing. In addition to customary assistant coach duties, Slone was designated as the team's head coach for two tournaments, the Illini Spring Classic and the Big Ten Championships.
Since that one-year stint as an assistant at U of I, Slone served as an Assistant Golf Professional at two different courses in the south. For the past year, she has served as the manager and golf professional at Sherwood Forest Golf Club in Brevard, N.C. Prior to that, she was an Assistant Pro at Connestee Falls Country Club in Brevard, N.C., where she established a "Clubs in the Classroom" campaign introducing hundreds of young children to the game of golf. She was also responsible for clinic development and instruction in addition to helping with all daily golf operations and personnel.
A native of Metamora, Ill., Slone had an outstanding junior career before coming to Illinois, finding success at the area, state and national levels. She won an unprecedented four consecutive Peoria Women's City Titles (1987-90), was a two-time IHSA Class AA Individual State Champion (1987, '89), and was a three-time American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) All-American.
In 2004, Slone was inducted into both the National Golf Coaches Association Players Hall of Fame and the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
THE RENEE SLONE FILE Maiden Name: Renee Heiken Born: June 2, 1972 Hired: June 8, 2006 Family: Married Rick Slone in 2001
Education University of Illinois - B.S. Business Administration-Marketing
Career Experience 2006- Head Coach, University of Illinois Women's Golf 2005-06 Manager & Golf Professional, Sherwood Forest Golf Club, Brevard, N.C. 2002-05 Assistant Golf Professional, Connestee Falls Country Club, Brevard, N.C. 2001-02 Assistant Golf Professional/General Manager, Country Club of West Georgia, Villa Rica, Ga. 2001 Assistant Coach, University of Illinois Women's Golf 2000 Assistant Coach, Bradley University Men's and Women's Golf
Playing Experience 1998-2000 Futures Tour 1995-97 LPGA Tour 1990-93 University of Illinois National Golf Coaches Association and Golfweek National Player of the Year (1993) Three-time All-American (1991, '92, '93) Three-time NCAA Tournament Top-10 finisher (1991 - 3rd, 1992 - t-4th, 1993 - t-6th) Two-time Big Ten Conference Player of the Year (1992, '93) Two-time Big Ten Conference Individual Champion (1991, '93) Three-time All-Big Ten (1991, '92, '93) Two-time Academic All-Big Ten (1992, '93) Two-time University of Illinois Dike Eddleman Female Athlete of the Year (1991, '92) UI Career Stroke Average Leader (75.35) 1986-89 Metamora Township HS, Metamora, Ill. Two-time IHSA Class AA Individual State Champion (1987, '89) Four-time Peoria Women's City Champion (1987-90)