Melissa Luellen never shied away from the challenge of having a famous mother with a daunting list of playing and coaching accomplishments.
Instead, Melissa not only helped Dale McNamara to the last of her four national championships, she wound up succeeding her at the University of Tulsa. But first she exceeded her mother’s playing accomplishments with an 11-year career on the LPGA Tour, including a victory in the 1991 Stratton Mountain Classic.
Melissa’s junior accomplishments were stout. A three-time Oklahoma high school champion at Jenks, she also won the Women’s Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Amateur twice and was the 1983 state amateur champion, winning the title that her mother won seven times.
She joined her mother at Tulsa in 1985 and had a stellar college career, winning four times and earning first-team All-American honors as a senior. She capped her career by winning the 1988 NCAA Championship as an individual while leading Tulsa to the team title in Albuquerque.
After graduating, Luellen competed on the Futures and Ladies European Tours in 1988 and 1989 before qualifying for the LPGA Tour in October of 1989. She spent 11 years on the LPGA Tour, winning the 1991 Stratton Mountain LPGA Classic and teamed with Mike Springer to win the 1993 JC Penney Classic.
In 2000, Luellen succeeded her mother as head women’s golf coach at TU. In her two seasons, she led her team to seven tournament titles, including back-to-back Western Athletic Conference and NCAA Central Regional championships each year. The 2001-02 season saw her team win five tournaments, including the 2002 PING/ASU Championship at Karsten Golf Course, earn a No. 3 national ranking for most of the season, and finish 12th at the 2002 NCAA Championships. Luellen was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in each of her two seasons and was the 2002 Central Regional Coach of the Year.
During her very successful tenure at Arizona State, Luellen led the program to an NCAA team title, 10 NCAA Top 10 finishes, two conference championships and 25 team titles. She also coached one NCAA Individual Champion, three Pac-12 Golfers of the Year, three NGCA Freshmen of the Year, 14 All-Americans and 21 individual tournament medalists.
Luellen’s coaching accomplishments have earned her several personal coaching honors. After the Sun Devils’ NCAA Championship run in 2009, she was named SkyCaddie NGCA National Coach of the Year. Luellen was also named Pac-10 Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2007, 2009).
Now the head coach at Auburn, the team made a return trip to the NCAA Regionals and saw their players earn three individual tournament wins.
Off the course, Luellen is involved in several charitable projects. She created G.I.V.E.H.O.P.E. (Get Involved Volunteer, Educate, Help Other People Excel) cards that she passes out at tournaments and special events where participants write an inspirational message or quote to Give Hope to others.