Courtney Mahon is Teacher of the Year, Kimberly Coleman is Professional of the Year, Maria Lopez is Coach of the Year and Stephanie Peareth is Junior Golf Leader of the Year
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 31, 2020 – The LPGA Professionals announced today the following members as winners of the 2020 national awards in acknowledgement of their dedication and achievements: Courtney Mahon, Falcon Ridge Golf Course at Tour Striker Midwest in Lenexa, Kansas, Teacher of the Year; Kimberly Coleman, Vista Valley Country Club in Vista, California, Professional of the Year; Maria Lopez, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, Coach of the Year; and Stephanie Peareth, Melreese International Links in Miami, Florida, Junior Golf Leader of the Year.
The national award winners were selected by the LPGA Professionals membership’s Executive Committee from the pool of Section Award winners voted on by officers of the six regional sections: Central, International, Midwest, Northeast, Southeast and Western.
Teacher of the Year, Courtney Mahon
The LPGA established the National Teacher of the Year Award in 1958. The award is given annually to the female golf professional who has demonstrated outstanding accomplishments related to the teaching of golf during the year.
An LPGA Professionals Class A member, Courtney Mahon, currently serves full-time in several teaching positions. Mahon has been the Director of Instruction at Tour Striker Midwest Academy since 2017, as well as the Head Women’s Golf Coach for the Olathe Northwest High School. She is an LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Site Director and is also the Director of Tour Striker Midwest Junior Academy, running programs that include PGA Junior League and Nike Junior Golf Camp, among many others. Mahon has served as a captain of multiple PGA Junior League teams since 2017, including four in 2020.
Mahon is heavily involved with the LPGA Professionals organization, where she has served as the LPGA Central Section Treasurer and has been a member of the LPGA Professionals Tournament Committee since 2017. She also is the LPGA Professionals National Chair for the New Member Committees.
“It is truly an honor to receive this incredible award. It has been a lifelong goal of mine,” said Mahon. “I am thankful to be a part of such a dynamic organization and to learn from some of the most respected instructors in the industry.”
In 2018, Golf Digest named Mahon to their Best Young Teachers in America list. From 2012-2017, Mahon was the Lead Instructor for the Tour Striker Golf Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. During that time, she was also the Head Instructor for the Nike Junior Golf Camps at Pebble Beach in the summers of 2013 and 2014. Mahon secured her first teaching position in 2008, where she was the Head Women’s Golf Coach at the University of Missouri in Kansas City until 2009.
Mahon has a background rooted in professional golf, where she was a playing member of the Symetra Tour (2007-2012) and the Cactus Tour (2008-2012). She played collegiately at the University of Arkansas (2002-2006), where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics and a Minor in Psychology.
Professional of the Year, Kimberly Coleman
The LPGA Professional of the Year was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member primarily engaged in a golf operation, golf association or industry position, promoting the game through player development, growth of the game initiatives and other golf-related activities.
Kimberly Coleman has been in professional golf for over 18 years and was promoted to Head Golf Professional at Vista Valley Country Club (Vista, California) in 2018. She has worked with the USGA and AJGA in hosting five USGA Qualifiers and four AJGA tournaments since 2016. Having joined Vista Valley in 2010, Kimberly is responsible for tournament operations, merchandising, instruction, junior golf camp coordination, staff management, playing with members, creating special events and daily golf operations.
Coleman’s initiatives at Vista Valley have continued to promote and support the LPGA by communicating with both members and non-members through the golf industry. In her time as the Club’s Head Golf Professional, Coleman has increased club revenue by coordinating several successful golf outings, tournaments, and junior programs, including clinics with LPGA Tour player Tiffany Joh.
In the past three years, Coleman has served on the LPGA Western Section Tournament Committee (2016-2017), was the LPGA Western Section Treasurer (2017-2018) and was an LPGA Section Golf Professional of the Year in 2018.
“I’m so honored to receive this award and to represent such an outstanding organization. The hundreds of talented and dedicated women of the LPGA continue to inspire and motivate me. I have a quote hanging in my office, ‘The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away,’” said Coleman. “This award is truly a thank you to my family, my friends, my mentors, the LPGA, Callaway and my Vista Valley CC family who have all helped me find my purpose and allow me to share my passion for the game of golf.”
Before becoming a dual LPGA Professionals Class A Member and PGA Class A Member, Coleman was a professional player, competing on numerous mini-tours throughout the U.S. and Canada from 2000 to 2010. She made one attempt at qualifying for the LPGA Tour, played in numerous U.S. Women’s Open Qualifiers, and competed in many State Open tournaments throughout the years. In 2006, she was part of a small contingent of U.S. golf professionals who traveled to Xaimen, China to compete in the country’s inaugural “Orient Open.”
From 2005-2013, Coleman also owned and operated ProGolfEvents.com, to promote women’s professional golf and provide professionals worldwide access to events throughout the U.S., while also organizing professional tournaments for women golfers in Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Diego to provide additional playing opportunities. Before pursuing golf professionally, Kimberly served as Director of Operations of the National Volleyball League, a women’s professional indoor organization. Coleman graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Business-Marketing in 1992 and was also a member of SDSU’s intercollegiate basketball team.
Coach of the Year, Maria Lopez
The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.
Maria Lopez enters her 21st season at the helm of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University women's golf program in 2020-21. Lopez pioneered the women’s golf program at ERAU in 2000 and during her tenure, the Embry-Riddle women’s golf team has accrued five regional championships, seven conference titles, and had an incredible run of 14 consecutive NAIA National Championship appearances (2002-15). Remarkably, from 2003-2013, the Eagles strung together 11 straight top-six finishes at the NAIA National Championship, twice finishing as national runner-up and four more times placing third overall.
A true teacher of the game, Lopez has seen her Eagles earn 41 All-America honors, and has coached 20 NAIA National Championship All-Tournament team members, 40 All-Sun Conference team members, 23 All-Region honorees and nine Conference/Region Players of the Year. In the classroom, Lopez has overseen 61 Academic All-Conference awardees, 18 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and most recently, the program's first-ever WGCA All-American Scholars (four) in 2019.
From 2003-10, Lopez also assumed the head coach position of the men’s golf program, leading them to two National Championship appearances, a conference championship runner-up team finish and 12 top-three finishes. In addition, Lopez’s student-athletes garnered several individual honors, including three individual titles, one All-America honor, one Sun Conference Player of the Year, four All-Sun Conference team members, two All-Region XIV team members, one conference A.O. Duer Award nominee, 13 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and 12 Academic All-Conference recipients.
As a head coach at ERAU, Lopez was named Regional/Conference Coach of the Year eight times and was the Sun Conference Coach of Character Award winner in 2010. She was also awarded the 2007 Coach of the Year by the LPGA Professionals, marking the first time a coach from an NAIA institution had been given the award.
“Being an LPGA Class A Member and the Women’s Golf Coach at Embry-Riddle has been my life’s calling and a dream come true,” said Lopez. “I am overjoyed to have our program be recognized for its growth and achievement. It is a tremendous privilege and honor that brings great pride to our student-athletes and alumni. We are beyond humbled and grateful.”
A three-year letter winner at Alabama, Lopez competed for the Crimson Tide from 1989-92 and graduated in 1993. During her tenure at Tuscaloosa, Lopez won a U.S. Women’s Amateur sectional qualifier, earning her the right to participate in the 1992 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Lopez later turned professional and played on the Futures Tour in 1993, while also competing on the Asian (1994,1997), European and Australian Tours (1994). In 1998, she retired from full-time competition after a long battle with injuries. Lopez returned to competitive golf in 2000 and occasionally competes in various professional events in order to maintain and sharpen her skills as a player and instructor. She also has caddied in numerous LPGA and Symetra Tour events since 1994.
Junior Golf Leader of the Year, Stephanie Peareth
The LPGA Professionals Junior Golf Leader of the Year Award was established in 2012 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who excels in teaching and promoting golf for juniors.
Originally from England, Peareth came to the U.S. to play collegiate golf. She started at Pfeiffer University from 2010-2012, transferring in 2012 to Concord University. Peareth was an NCAA Tournament Qualifier during the 2012-13 and 2013-2014 seasons, winning seven times as a CU Mountain Lion.
Peareth started on her LPGA Professionals journey in 2015, after brain surgery and an incurable brain condition diagnosis. She underwent two of her three brain surgeries before taking over as the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Miami site director in 2015, aborting plans to become a professional player because of her brain condition. The program has grown exponentially in the last five years, from 15 girls to over 200 with over 50 active events per year. In 2016, she was recruited at First Tee of Miami as their girl’s director and became a Level 3 Certified First Tee Coach. Over the past 4 years, she has continued to create and implement many programs for junior golfers with the goal of giving young men and women as many opportunities as possible to pursue their dreams.
“It is incredible to win this award and be recognized as a junior leader! 2020 has been a battle and a very tough personal year and to know that I was able to keep focused and dedicated to my work to achieve this makes me proud of myself,” said Peareth. “Junior golf is the future of our industry and to be a small part of this amazing organization helping pave the way and create a positive fun and accessible path for juniors is an award itself! This is a truly incredible honor.”
Peareth received the 2019 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most coveted honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, for her continued dedication and passion for empowering girls through golf. She has also worked with organizations like the Special Olympics, PGA Junior League, PGA Hope, and Lighthouse for the Blind Junior Series, coaching and teaching clinics as part of her ever-growing community outreach.