Sligh Hired to Head Redbird Women's Golf
Head coach Darby Sligh
Head coach Darby Sligh

Aug. 14, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. - Youthful experience has become a common part of Redbird golf. The summer of 2007 has also been a summer of new beginnings for the Illinois State women's golf team. Following the 2006-2007 season, Illinois State split its men's and women's golf programs, prompting a need for a head women's golf coach. With the hiring of Darby Sligh (sl-eye), Illinois State gained a young head coach who has experienced success both as a player and coach.

Sligh, a 2005 graduate of the University of Alabama, spent the past two seasons as the women's golf coach at Newberry College in Newberry, S.C. In just two years at the helm, Sligh was able to produce a South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Championship, win league coach of the year honors and have six players named to the All-SAC team.

"I could not be more excited to join the Redbird family and all of its rich tradition in women's golf," said Sligh. "Illinois State provides all the necessary tools to build champions both on and off the course, and the support from the athletic department and community is second to none."

With Sligh taking on the responsibilities for the women's team, men's golf head coach Ray Kralis feels like both the men's and women's programs will be able to take the necessary steps to go from consistent conference competitor, to a pair of programs that are able to compete at the national level.

"I'm extremely excited for the future of Illinois State golf," Kralis said. "Within the last few years, both our men's and women's teams have challenged at both the conference and the national levels. Having two head coaches will give us the best chance to do that year in and year out."

The split of the men's and women's teams comes at a time when the combined programs have experienced sustained success. Director of Athletics Dr. Sheahon Zenger saw that success and hired Sligh based on the growth potential of each program.

"Darby is both an accomplished former student-athlete, who has already showed promise as a head coach," Zenger said. "Ray elevated the level of excellence within the Redbird women's golf program, and Darby, with her sole focus on the ISU women's team, is a great choice to take the program farther. We are excited about the addition of Darby to the Redbird family."

With a young core of players returning, Sligh should be able to hit the ground running into the 2007-2008 season.

"Coach Kralis has done an amazing job building the foundation for both programs and I intend on continuing that success for seasons to come," Sligh said.

"Time is right to make a national push," Kralis said. "Both programs are primed to be able to compete year-in and year-out, not only at the conference level but also the national level."

ILLINOIS STATE - Announced the hiring of Darby Sligh as head women's golf coach.

What Others Say About Darby Sligh:

Betty Palmer, former Alabama women's head golf coach "Darby was an outstanding student and player for me. She is an excellent leader who got the most out of her teammates and will do the same with her players. She is personable, outgoing, kindhearted, and motivated. Illinois State got a great coach and a great person."

Kim Evans, Auburn women's head golf coach ""Darby was a terrific student-athlete. She had a terrific career at Alabama and did a great job at Newberry College. She is laid back and a lot of fun. She has a lot of confidence and will do a great job relating to her players."

Kelley Hester, Georgia women's head golf coach "I've known Darby since she was at Alabama. She was an outstanding golfer and student. Her experience in the SEC (Southeastern Conference) will really help her make Illinois State a successful program and get to the next level."