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Editor’s note: This is 26th in a series counting down the Top 50 moments in Iowa Hawkeyes women’s athletics history in the 50 days leading up to the 50th anniversary of Title IX in June.
Diane Thomason had quite the “cold, rainy day” 31 years ago in Madison, Wis.
Thomason, Iowa’s women’s golf head coach at the time, gave her jacket and sweater to her freshman star. Another golfer had some of Thomason’s other gear.
“We were changing socks just to stay warm,” Thomason said. “Everybody was cold.”
But no weather could dampen what Thomason’s Hawkeyes accomplished that day — the first and only Big Ten title in Iowa women’s golf history.
“It was exhilarating,” said Thomason, who now works in the university’s advancement office. “I was excited, thrilled to death.”
Along with the Big Ten crown, Iowa’s Stacey Arnold won Big Ten Player of the Year, Mary Jo Rollins won Big Ten Freshman of the Year and Thomason won Big Ten Coach of the Year.
Iowa opened the first day of the tournament with an “unheard of” 19-stroke lead — not long after Indiana beat Iowa by 20 strokes during the regular season.
“I’m like, ‘Holy smokes,’” Thomason said.
By the end of the second day, that lead went from 19 to 11 shots.
In 1991, coaches like Thomason didn’t have the ability to pull up live statistics on a phone to see what was happening, making for a nail-biting final day.
“The scary thing is I’d see somebody make a bogey, and I’m like, ‘Uhh,’” Thomason said. “But I didn’t see, at the same time, Stacey (Arnold) made birdie.”
Arnold and Rollins told their coach, “I got mine, Coach, don’t worry,” Thomason said.
She didn’t have to worry, indeed. The Hawkeyes won by nine strokes.
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