Michele Redman, a 20-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, is going back to college.
Redman, of Plymouth, was named Gophers women's golf coach Wednesday. The university also announced John Carlson, the associate men's golf coach this past school year, was promoted to head coach.
"I am honored to be here, and blessed and lucky," said Redman, 46. "One of the main reasons I really wanted the job was because I had such a great college experience. If I had not had those four great years [at Indiana], I would never have had the 20 years I had on the tour."
Now Redman wants to mentor the next generation of young golfers.
"When I went to college, I wasn't the best, top-rated junior player," Redman said, "but I wanted to be a good player. [And] I had a coach that spent a lot of time with me."
She was a four-time All-Big Ten selection and a two-time All-America with the Hoosiers. Even so, she needed four attempts before qualifying for the LPGA Tour in 1992. Since then, Redman has won two titles and has had 80 finishes in the top 10. Her career earnings are $5.7 million, which ranks 27th all-time. She also was a member of the U.S. team in the Solheim Cup four times between 2000 and 2005.
Redman plans to play in the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., next week, and then put her pro career on hold to coach.
Though it's a job she has never officially held before, younger pro players ask her questions all the time, and she hopes the questions keep coming.
"I want [my players] to feel comfortable being able to come and talk to me if they have a problem with anything, school, golf," Redman said.
Originally from Zanesville, Ohio, she moved to Plymouth 17 years ago shortly after joining the tour. She fell in love with the Twin Cities while doing appearances for Target, one of her early sponsors.
Her name recognition after a long pro career, Redman said, should help her as a college recruiter.
"I am really looking forward to the recruiting process," she said. "My No. 1 [goal is] getting some good Minnesota girls in here and then we will see. The better we get, [recruiting] could go a little more than regional, it could go national."
Tuesday, after accepting the job, Redman was able to contact four of her nine players.
"I have a lot to learn," she said, "but the most important thing right now is to work on some team building and to get to know the girls."
Redman didn't get an interview before Kathryn Brenny was named associate women's coach last August. Brenny left after two months and later filed a sexual bias lawsuit against the university. The turnover on the golf staff continued in late June when John Harris, who oversaw both men's and women's programs as their director, resigned after less than a year. His position was eliminated after his departure, thereby creating a chance for Carlson to move up.
Redman submitted a second application soon after the university posted the women's opening. Then, the day before her interview, she drove to the Bierman Athletic Building to be sure she could easily find it.
She found Bierman, and maybe her niche. "I feel good about being here," Redman said.