Leanne Smith, who has served as an assistant coach with the Drake men's and women's golf programs since 2006, is in her third season as head women's golf coach for the Bulldogs.
This past fall, Drake earned top-10 finishes in three of the five tournaments the Bulldogs played in. Injuries to redshirt freshman Kimmy Askelson and junior Cristina Bowery altered the lineup for Smith allowing her to provide valuable playing experience to her newcomers. Junior Hadley Jennings registered a team-best 76.3 scoring average over 15 rounds, while senior Chelsey Falk and sophomore Danielle Brooks posted 78.5 and 79.9 scoring averages, respectively, in 15 rounds apiece.
The Bulldogs garnered 29 rounds in the 70's this fall, including a team-best performance from Jennings scoring 79 or better in all but two rounds during the fall season.
Last year, Drake turned in top-10 finishes in six of its 10 tournament appearances. Smith guided the Bulldogs through a campaign in which Drake was challenged by injuries, including its top-scoring individual, Askelson, who was lost due to injury.
Askelson directed the Bulldogs with a team-low 79.7 scoring average in 12 rounds, while Jennings turned in an 80.1 average in 28 rounds.
"I'm excited about the student-athletes we have brought in the last couple years," Smith commented. "Chelsey (Falk) has been a great addition to our team. We needed some seniority after graduating five in 2010, and she stepped right into a leadership role. Hadley (Jennings) has improved so much, and works so hard for us. I know she will continue to see her efforts pay off."
In her initial campaign leading the Drake program she guided the Bulldogs to four top-six finishes, including three during the spring season.
Michelle Mathwick and Falk paced Drake registering two-round totals of 155 to finish tied for 14th at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship. Jennings, by virtue of her top-18 finish; joined the duo in receiving one of the coveted tournament flags given to the top-18 individuals in the standings.
Off the course, Mathwick, Jennings and Kaitlyn Mauk were named to the National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar-Athlete team, while Mathwick was selected as a first-team All-MVC Scholar-Athlete honoree.
"We have been incredibly lucky to find young women who truly do put as much effort into their academics as their athletic pursuits," said Smith. "They are very talented young women, who realize that their efforts in the classroom will lead them to much greater opportunities outside of it."
Mathwick paced the Bulldogs in 2011 with a team-best 78.1 scoring average.
Along with former head coach Scott Bohlender, Smith undertook a start up program in women's golf in 2006.
In six years, it has scored five All-American Scholars in Jennings (2011, 2012), Olivia Lansing (2008, 2009), Michelle Mathwick (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), Kaitlyn Mauk (2011) and Elena Vukmir (2008,2009).
Lansing also garnered All-MVC medalist honors in 2008 and 2010, while earning an at-large berth in the 2010 NCAA Central Regional.
"We have benefited so much from the young women who started the program with us in 2006," Smith explained. "Without all the hard work they put in we would not be in the position we are today. They really helped us attract even better student-athletes to our program because of all they accomplished in the first few years of the program. We are excited to have built a team that can compete for MVC Championships year in and year out, and it is all due to the foundation we laid with that first class."
"The opportunity to lead the women's program at Drake is an experience I enjoy everyday," said Smith.
The Creston, Iowa, native was a four-year letterwinner at Iowa State, earning Big 12 Academic All-Conference honors in 2002 and 2003. She earned a bachelor of science degree in marketing, with a coaching minor, in 2004. She later added an MBA from Drake in 2009.
Smith played in the U.S. Amateur in 2001 and 2004 as well as the 2004 U.S. Women's Public Links Championship. She won the Des Moines Women's City Tournament in 2002 and 2004 and finished runner-up in the 2009 Iowa Women's Amateur Golf Championship and placed third in 2012.
Smith turned pro in November of 2005 and played in the Futures Tour for two years.
Leanne and her husband, Russ, have two daughters, Adelaide and Eva.