Each collegiate program can boast its own game-changing athlete over the years, and none has been more important to SMU women’s golf than Kyle Stevens.
And it may not even be close.
Stevens attended SMU from 1976-1980, guiding her team to the AIAW Golf National Championship in 1979 while firing a tournament-low 292. It was an accomplishment that took her lowly Mustangs from unheard of to the top of the women’s golf ranks in a matter of years.
“First of all, I think it’s great that they are honoring such a magnificent conference in this manner,” Stevens said. “I was very fortunate to come to the Southwest Conference when I did and compete along side such amazing athletes. We took our program from nothing to national champs in only three years.”
Stevens swung the sticks and coached for the Mustangs for nearly a decade and will be inducted into the SWC Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Dallas on Monday.
As a player at SMU, Stevens had no trouble gathering hardware. In 1979 alone, Stevens was named Golf Magazine’s Collegiate Player of the Year, while also receiving the Honda Broderick Award as the nation’s outstanding collegiate female athlete.
The SMU Women’s Golf MVP trophy given each year is actually named after her.
“It’s an absolute honor to have the MVP trophy named after me,” Stevens said. “Not really for name recognition, but I hope that it gives those girls something to look at and motivates them to excel and to be the best that they can be.”
The LPGA Tour came calling shortly after Stevens graduated in 1980. It didn’t take long for the SMU alumna to make her stamp on the tour.
In 1981, she was named the Golf Digest Rookie of the Year.
She toured with the LPGA for five years until back surgery ended her career in 1985.
Stevens took the head coaching job at SMU in 1986, coaching up until 1992 when she became pregnant and decided to hang up her coaching cleats.
“What a way to retire though,” Stevens said. “It was a great career and I was proud to be a part of such a great program.”
A career so polished wouldn’t be complete without medals and inductions.
In 2003, Stevens was inducted into the National Golf Coaches Association Player Hall of Fame. Six years later, Stevens was honored by her alma mater with an induction into the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame.
For Stevens and many of the other 2015 inductees, being recognized for accomplishments nearly half a decade later means everything.
“I’m extremely honored, to say the least,” Stevens said. “Anytime you are honored 40 or so years after your playing time is just an unbelievably humbling experience. This says a lot about the players and coaches from those SWC teams and to what a really good conference it was.”