Pam Tyska, Northern Illinois University head women’s golf coach, will retire at the end of the 2012 season after 26 years of service to NIU, she announced Monday.
“I have enjoyed coaching and being the trusted torch bearer as the head women’s golf coach at NIU for 26 years,” Tyska said.
“During the last three decades, NIU is proud to have produced a fine line of distinguished alumni, many of whom made the golf industry part of their professional path and others that continue to enjoy golf as talented amateurs,” she added. “I appreciate how fortunate I have been in sharing so many wonderful adventures with our teams’ numerous tournament and individual victories and top competitive experiences from Atlantic to Pacific, south of the border in Mexico and in Scotland.”
Tyska, the longest-tenured coach on the Huskie staff, made an immediate impact on the Northern Illinois golf program upon her arrival in DeKalb in 1986 as the Huskies won two tournaments and placed in the top five in 10-of-12 tournaments during the 1986-87 campaign. During her tenure at NIU, Tyska led the Huskies to 20 first-place finishes, 29 runner-up marks and 102 top-five showings in 260 tournaments.
“Pam has dedicated much of her professional career to the Northern Illinois University women’s golf program,” said Jeff Compher, NIU associate vice president and director of Athletics. “Her accomplishments on and off the golf course have brought notoriety to Northern Illinois. Her team’s achievements on the course are outweighed only by its performance in the classroom and contributions to the community. Pam will always be a Huskie and we wish her all the best in her future endeavors.”
In the summer of 2009, Tyska accomplished one of her career highlights away from the field of competition as she spearheaded the NIU men’s and women’s golf team’s participation in the 2009 Solheim Cup, one of the premier events in women’s golf. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Tyska, NIU golfers were on the course as ball-spotters for one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.
The success Tyska has enjoyed at Northern Illinois is a reflection of not only her abilities as a teacher of the game, but as a recruiter as well. She has mentored a host of talented pupils including Nicole Jeray, who selected as the National Player of the Year by both Ram Golf and Golfweek Magazine in 1990-91. Jeray won eight individual medals for the Cardinal and Black between 1989 and 1991 before joining the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour.
Other Tyska pupils at NIU include Shelley Wendels-Gilk, who earned her LPGA card in 1996; Allison Beam began her first season on the FUTURES Golf Tour in the summer of 2003, and Kara Soderberg started in 2004.
The Huskies’ achievements under Tyska also extend to the classroom. Northern Illinois has had consistent representation on the National Golf Coaches Association Academic All-America honor roll, a prestigious list that includes 18 Huskies sporting grade point averages of 3.50 or higher, including 2011 recipients Allie Parthie and Kelsie Passolt.
Partie and Passolt became the 12th and 13th Huskies during the Tyska era to earn multiple NGCA Academic All-America accolades. For the sixth-straight year, NIU recorded a perfect mark of 1,000 and ranked in the top 10 percent of all women’s golf squads in the nation in the NCAA’s 2009 Academic Progress Rate Report.
Tyska owns a host of regional and national awards as well, winning Midwest Region Coach of the Year accolades from the NGCA in 1991 and from the LPGA in 1994 and 1996. The veteran links boss’ reputation has earned the respect of her peers, as she has been selected to the elite group of clinicians for the NCAA’s Youth Education Through Sports (YES) Clinics every year they have been held since 1993. The clinics help potential collegiate golfers in their development with discussions on the role of academics, goal-setting and mental skill development on and off the course, as well as recruiting and admission requirements.
Active in the community, Tyska was also instrumental in founding “Get a Girl Golfing” clinics at NIU in 1998 and the NIU Hook-a-Kid on Golf in the Schools program in 2003. In January 2003, Tyska was honored with the inaugural National Golf Coaches Association Founders Award at the annual NGCA Convention in Orlando, Fla.
In 2006, Tyska received the NGCA’s most prestigious individual honor, the Gladys Palmer Meritorious Service Award. The award recognizes outstanding service to women’s golf “above and beyond the call of duty.” Her string of awards continued in 2010, when the Kids Golf Foundation named Tyska an Illinois Site Coordinator of the Year for her work as clinic coordinator of the LPGA/Solheim Ronald McDonald House Junior Golf Clinic.
Tyska also sat on the NCAA Midwest Regional Selection Committee from 1989 through 1995 and on the NGCA Awards Committee from 1990 through 1996. She served a stint on the NGCA Board of Directors from 1996-2001. In addition to her extensive list of NCAA appointments, Tyska is a member of the NGCA, LPGA, PGA, and the National Association of Golf Educators. She is an advisor for The Fairway Network, the Illinois Junior Golf Association and the Women’s Western Golf Association.
Fans can give Tyska their best wishes at this year’s annual Spring Fling May 19-20 at Kishwaukee Country Club in DeKalb, Ill. There will be a dinner Saturday evening, followed by golf Sunday. More information will be made available at a later date. To reserve your spot, call (815) 753-1548.
“I look forward to continuing to strengthen golf in our community, both educationally at NIU as well as through Kishwaukee College and recreationally via DeKalb’s fine Park District,” Tyska said. “I eagerly anticipate cheering all the Huskies on to their next chapters of greatness.”