UGA fires Kelley Hester as women’s golf coach

ATHENS – Georgia women’s golf coach Kelley Hester has been dismissed by athletic director Greg McGarity.



Hester, 38, said she met with McGarity on Thursday in Athens. An official announcement from UGA will come Friday afternoon.

“My contract was up and he didn’t renew it,” Hester said Friday morning. “He just said he didn’t have the confidence in me to lead the program in the direction he felt like it should go.”

Hester, who played for the Bulldogs from 1992-96, was the head coach at Arkansas for five years before accepting Georgia’s offer to return to her alma mater. Her first signee was Marta Silva Zamora of Spain, who became just the second four-time All-American in UGA history and was the 2011 National Player of the Year. Hester helped produce 11 All-Americans during in time in Athens. She signed Manuela Carbajo Re, the top-ranked junior in South America, earlier this year.

However, Georgia failed to advance out of regionals and on to the NCAA Championships in each of the last three seasons.

Hester is the second UGA coach to be dismissed by McGarity this year. Women’s gymnastics coach Jay Clark was forced to resign earlier this month after the Gymdogs failed to advance to the Super Six round of the NCAA Championships for a third consecutive year. Georgia hired Danna Durante as a replacement on May 23.

70 comments Add your comment

Double Dawg

June 1st, 2012
8:15 am

Double Dawg

June 1st, 2012
8:15 am

william cranman

June 1st, 2012
8:16 am

In fairness to Ms. Hester, she was not fired. Her contract was not renewed. If she had time left on her contract then the term “fired” would be appropriate. Thanks for the update though Chip.


June 1st, 2012
8:26 am

In all fairness to all the “laid off” people out there, they were not fired, they were just laid off. Call it what you want. The result is the same.

John Galt

June 1st, 2012
8:28 am

Wow- win or be gone at UGA. You have to like the expectation of success; I hope it applies to ALL sports-

Dawg Tired

June 1st, 2012
8:31 am

Greg has to do whar he feels is best for the UGA Program, as he will be judged by the outcome. Go Dawgs!


June 1st, 2012
8:35 am

Isn’t Perno’s contract “up” next year? Will it be a make or break year or what?

Paul in NH

June 1st, 2012
8:36 am

This kind of reminds me of Jerry Tarkanian’s old joke about the NCAA – they were so upset about Kentucky cheating in b’ball that they slapped another 2 years probation on Cleveland State.
Based on McGarity’s behavior you have to think that all of the coaches in the “minor sports” are praying for good seasons for FB and men’s B’Ball


June 1st, 2012
8:55 am

I guess Ol’ Greg beats up on the coaches in sports nobody cares about and leaves guys like Andy Landers and Dave Perno alone to continue in the morass of mediocrity.

Tom Roberts

June 1st, 2012
9:00 am

UGA just lost one of the best coaches in college golf and sports in general.


June 1st, 2012
9:09 am

OK, we’ll see what happens in the bigger revenue sports? Also, will there be any pressure if Asst Coaches or Coordinators do not perform up to expectation? We’ll see???

Lady Dawg Fan

June 1st, 2012
9:21 am

When is Andy Landers going to catch some heat. He needs to go ASAP. The state of Ga. has the deepest crop of girls to come thru this state ever and none of them are going to UGA. The lady dags have fell behind in the SEC and it is time for a new coach who can get this program back to the top.

Girls BBall fan

June 1st, 2012
9:25 am

Three of the top seven girls basketball players in the class of 2013 are from Ga. and two of them are going to UNC. The top 60 has ten kids from this state and none are going to GA. Andy Landers has lost touch and needs to go and go now.

Breaking news!!

June 1st, 2012
9:27 am


June 1st, 2012
9:41 am

Let’s see. You sign all of these 5 star women golfers and they haven’t produced in the last five years.
You’re gone. Mark, you get a raise!!!!!!!!!!!
No wonder I’m dienlafin.

Brogen's Hero

June 1st, 2012
9:57 am

Breaking news!! Who cares? There are a long list of people who care you moron.


June 1st, 2012
10:01 am

Roberto..fairness to laid -off people out there…Its called “Barackism”.


June 1st, 2012
10:06 am

agree its time for Andy to hang it up…Program needs some new blood, new life!

[...] UGA fires Kelley Hester as women’s golf coach [...]


June 1st, 2012
10:10 am

Wow, I guess the days are numbered for Dave Perno too.

I wonder how long he will let the Football team go without any real successes.

Charlie Weis' Cooler (chair)

June 1st, 2012
10:15 am

Hey William Cranman, “fired” “contract not renewed” is pretty much the same thing.

Gulf Shores Dawg

June 1st, 2012
10:17 am

AD needs to stay the course, if programs do not show improvement, move on…Evans did not have the guts to upgrade all sports…Greg is the reason UGA will gradually excel at every sport. Take that to the bank! AD who is doing his job and not chasing red panties…Be proud Dawg Fans, be very proud to have the character and class of GM back in Athens…

Dawg Tired

June 1st, 2012
10:24 am

Well, it does make you wonder about the other sports. Why the different treatment?

Father A. Long

June 1st, 2012
10:24 am

Perno gets to keep his job. He doesn’t care if we beat Tech. Go figure.


June 1st, 2012
10:26 am

McGarity wants to turn Georgia into Championship program and he realizes that there are a lot of coaches that can be considered winners but are they good enough to bring UGA Championships. Even though that seems harsh, McGarity is trying to change the mind set at Georgia of being just okay is a good thing. As a former athlete that was driven to win I like the change and the fact that McGarity expects Championships and that it is NOT okay to just be okay or good.
Only a few programs at Georgia actually make money so getting excellence from all the coaches , as much as we pay them , is the least they can give in return.


June 1st, 2012
10:36 am

I see this as a good sign. McGarity obviously expects more out of ALL of his programs. I am confident that he feels that Richt and Fox and Perno can turn their programs into championship ones, or he would make changes there as well. He has shown the capacity to do what he feels is right and not worry about hurting feelings, etc.


June 1st, 2012
10:40 am

Kelly is a nice person but her recuiting was all over the board. She got one or two good girls and then she would get girls that have a hard time breaking 80. Just look at the performance over the past years if not for the play of a couple they would be in the cellar. It doesn’t look any better for this year either, two pretty good players coming in and then two that will not contribute. Hard to figure being ranked 9th and not making it out of regionals.


June 1st, 2012
10:42 am

The fact he is making moves sends significant messages to all. Let him do his job as he has a plan in place to bring Georgia Atheletics to the top. I trust his decision making and judgement.

Chip Towers

June 1st, 2012
10:45 am

Don’tsufferfools: Perno’s contract expires June of 2014.

Dawg Tired

June 1st, 2012
10:58 am

BTW – I do not know who the Dawg Tired posting at 8:31 is but he is not supposed to be able to use my handle.

old dog

June 1st, 2012
11:04 am

Women’s golf….a Title IX deal that ain’t too big an issue………………….cuss me, discuss me, but it is what it is…….

Top Recruit

June 1st, 2012
11:22 am

The AD must have a sign in his office like the one Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant had for his football team. “Be good, or be gone.”

I’d say the days of mediocre performance is coming to an end in Athens. The prior culture of lack of commitment, lack of discipline, lack of effort, lack of focus, lack of drive and hard work. No doubt McGarity inspects the blades of turf in Sanford Stadium

No doubt UGA alums and supporters deserve better than what they have got the past few years prior to the current AD coming on board. There are too many good student-athletes in this state who are not going to Athens who should be. UGA has some very good coaches and assistants, but there are some in the ranks who need to go based on performance and achievement. Gymnastics, golf, baseball, basketball, and football.

The big problem at UGA…the men’s big three performance in recent years. Totally unacceptabel. Look around the rest of the SEC East Division and compare UGA to those programs. Case in point. How many in the SEC East baseball are in the Regionals? Do not see UGA.

Dawg Tired

June 1st, 2012
11:23 am

old dog – As an old dog myself, I understand your point. However, lately the woman’s golf team (along with the men’s golf team) seems to be our best chance to actually win a conference championship, which, I guess, is worth something.

old dog

June 1st, 2012
11:25 am

@Dawg Tired;
Point taken……………….


June 1st, 2012
11:35 am

There’s apparently a very high performance standard and a low tolerance for imperfection in sports other than football. This woman is one of ours … a Dog. It’s not like she is a failure. Talk about a conflicting management style. She has recruited well. The team has performed well. She’s being fired because they lost some matches against equal or better opponents …. just like Richt.

UGA has been sort of a country club

June 1st, 2012
11:41 am

Lady Dogs Coach Landers is the prime exmaple of the Coaching County Club life at UGA,as a tenured coach. He was a hot coach back in the late 70s and into the 80s and frankly, has not come close to anything in many, many years. Decades ago he was very decent ……………..not in years.

He should resign or be gone. There must be 25 young FEMALE CHARGERS out there that could within two years carry UGA to the top in girl’s BB as their H Coach.

Landers must go.

UGA man, class of 71 & 73


June 1st, 2012
12:03 pm

I wished Mcgarity would take as much interest in baseball as he does other sports. Perno is a joke


June 1st, 2012
12:05 pm

This letter just sent:

Dear Coach Perno,

Win big next season. For sure.


Gerg McGarity


June 1st, 2012
12:06 pm

This one too

Dear Coach Landers,

Rocking Chairs are on sale at Wal Mart. I’m just sayin’


the new guy.


June 1st, 2012
12:11 pm

Gym and Golf did not team-up the past three years? That’s direction. Is the Lower Alabama coach next or is Georgia trimming the budget?


June 1st, 2012
12:52 pm

Too bad, a great coach and an even better person. Kelley will land another position quickly, she is highly respected in the business. Her #1 player and the top player in the country last year had an off year and that was the difference in having an average season versus a successful one. Her recruiting has been outstanding and McGarity may have pulled the trigger too quickly. Certainly hope he holds CMR to the same standard.

mark richt...are you watching???

June 1st, 2012
12:54 pm

McGarity doesn’t fire people….he just doesn’t renew contracts or asks them to resign…he lets nature take its course. In the corporate world, it’s called “letting them hang themselves.” And it all starts out with the phrase “we are giving you every opportunity to succeed….or we need to help you succeed…” Shouldn’t have to HELP anyone succeed at that level.

Very shrewd….Perno, Landers, Fox, and Richt better take notice. Especially when the Dawgs do their perennial swoon on the gridiron after recieveing high preseason rankings.

Snoop Dawg

June 1st, 2012
2:02 pm

McGarrity’s litmus test is Richt.

john C.C.

June 1st, 2012
3:58 pm

No way Landers should be around. Too bad he and Greg are good friends..

Fan of the Game

June 1st, 2012
5:07 pm

Coach Landers can be at UGA for as long as he wants as far as I am concerned. You people blasting him must have had a daughter he didn’t sign or he chewed their little tails out. You ask anybody that knows and follows ladies college basketball and they will tell you Landers is still one of the top in the country. His only weakness is that he still gets on that tail and in today’s soft society if a coach does that he can’t coach. Go Coach Landers!

Andrew Rhodes

June 1st, 2012
7:25 pm

Kelly Hester is a great coach and a great person. Does Mcgarity watch the guys play sports?


June 1st, 2012
8:00 pm

Kelley Hester is a quality coach. She has been successful as a coach at Mercer, UGA, UNLV and Arkansas. Sometimes, you find yourself in a situation that is unmanageable and no matter how hard you try, you cannot fix it. I think this is the case at UGA. My hope is that GA Tech snaps her up to start a women’s golf team. Best of luck to Kelley for a brighter future.

Lady Dawg insider

June 1st, 2012
8:15 pm

What goes around comes around. Hester kicked one of the most talented Lady Dawgs off the team for ( minor infractions , skipping class last fall); The player , if you are interested won the Georgia State Amateur Title. This fractured the team. It all came home to her. Carma is a strange thing!!!!


June 1st, 2012
8:18 pm

Bottom Line is she was not getting in done. Only NCAA Appearances was with an inherited team. Under her rein the team averaged 5th in the SEC, did not qualify for 3 NCAA Championships and has completely been passed in conference supremacy by Auburn, Alabama, LSU and Florida. People here keep talking about the great job she has done. What are you speaking of? Georgia has always been the leader of SEC Women’s Golf, now they don’t even qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Mr McGarity made the right move, it is time to bring in a real coach, someone willing to recruit hard and can make the team competitive in the conference again.

Football/Bball Focus

June 1st, 2012
8:43 pm

Hey 7576dawg, if that’s the case, why are Riicht and Fox still here?