ATHENS – Kelley Hester, Georgia’s women’s golf coach for the past five years, didn’t stay unemployed for long. The UGA graduate landed the head coaching job just up the road at Furman, she confirmed Friday.
Meanwhile, it appears that the Bulldogs have tabbed Josh Brewer to replace Hester as the Lady Dogs’ coach. Brewer, 36, has been assistant women’s golf coach at Southern Cal since 2009 and was a men’s golf assistant at Indiana before that. Brewer played golf for the Hoosiers from 1995-98.
Hester was informed by athletic director Greg McGarity on May 31 that her five-year contract, set to expire on June 30, would not be renewed. The decision came as a surprise to many as the Lady Bulldogs finished the season ranked No. 9 in the nation by Golfstat and No. 12 by Golf Week, had two All-Americans and had signed the best player in South America. However, Georgia failed to advance to the NCAA Golf Championships for a third consecutive year.
Hester will begin her new job on July 1 after her UGA contract expires.
“We’re going to go up the road and see what we can do there,” Hester said of moving to Furman in Greenville, S.C. “It’s a really good opportunity. They have a strong history and tradition in women’s golf with Betsy King and Beth Daniel and Dottie Pepper and a lot of other great players. Cindy Davis, the president of Nike golf, is an alum as well. So we’re really excited about it.”
The new job provides a softer landing for Hester, her husband Trey and 5-year-old daughter BeBe. Georgia had already agreed to pay her base salary for the rest of the year — a total of $58,350 — as part of a separation agreement, according to documents obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At Furman, Hester replaces Jen Hanna, who resigned at the end of this past season. A Furman alum, Hanna had been head coach since July of 2005.
Brewer’s hiring by Georgia is expected to be announced later today or Monday. “No comment at this time,” McGarity said.