Powers Ellis named new Irish women’s golf coach

Tribune Staff Report

SOUTH BEND – Caroline Powers Ellis, who spent six seasons as assistant coach at alma mater Michigan State, was named Thursday as the new head women’s golf coach at Notre Dame.

Powers Ellis, a 2013 Michigan State graduate who was an All-American on the golf course and in the classroom for the Spartans, succeeds Susan Holt, who retired after 16 seasons last April. “I couldn’t be more excited to welcome Caroline to the Irish golf family,” Notre Dame director of golf and head men’s coach John Handrigan said in a release. “Caroline has proven she can recruit elite student-athletes who compete for championships while having great success academically and in their local communities.”

Caroline Powers Ellis

The new Irish coach, a native of Bowling Green, Ohio, spent six seasons as assistant coach at Michigan State under long-time head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. The Spartans qualified for NCAA regional appearances in each of those seasons, advancing twice to the national finals while also claiming three Big Ten titles. The new coach is married to Michigan State men’s golf associate head coach Dan Ellis.

“Notre Dame is a special place, and when I stepped on campus, I could feel the passion and enthusiasm in everyone I met,” Powers Ellis said. “There is no limit to what this team can achieve, and I am excited to work alongside coach Handrigan as our two teams become united as one program. I am eager to get started and to advance the legacy of Notre Dame golf.”

Powers Ellis is one of just two women to earn the Alderton Award as MSU Athlete of the Year three times, the last time in 2013 when she also was named the female winner of the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor and recipient of the Chester Brewer Leadership Award.

The Big Ten Women’s Golfer of the Year in 2013, Powers Ellis completed her career as the school’s all-time scoring average leader (74.26 strokes) and owns three of the top four single-season scoring averages.

A three-time honorable mention All-American and All-Big Ten First Team selection, Powers Ellis helped Michigan State to back-to-back conference championships in 2011 and 2012 and a ninth-place finish in the 2013 NCAA Championships. She finished sixth individually in the 2011 NCAA Championships.

In addition to winning the Alderton Award for the third time in 2013, Powers Ellis also was named the female winner of the Big Ten Conference Medal of Honor and the recipient of the Chester Brewer Leadership Award. She became the first student-athlete in MSU history to receive all three awards in the same year.

Powers Ellis graduated with a 3.87 GPA in elementary education, earned All-America scholar honors four times and was a Big Ten distinguished scholar twice. She received the 2013 Dinah Shore Trophy Award from the LPGA Foundation for her excellence on the golf course, in the classroom, as a leader and for her work in the community.

Powers Ellis briefly played on the LPGA Symetra Tour, recording 11 top-20 finishes including a career-best fourth place at the 2014 Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek. Since returning to Michigan State as an assistant, Powers Ellis has played a major role in recruitment and the growth of players on and off the golf course.