Martha Richards, cancer survivor, to step down as Texas women's golf coach
University of Texas Athletics
University of Texas Women's Golf Coach Martha Richards said Friday that she will resign at the end of the 2013-14 season, her seventh with the program.
Her story is unusual in that she is a two-time cancer survivor, and she said is stepping down to maintain her health. Richards, 44, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 25 and thyroid cancer at 33.
She described herself as ''the poster child for going to the doctor'' in a story in The Austin American-Statesman, and told writer Suzanne Halliburton that ''the good news is I'm leaving with great health.''
However, Richards said, the stress of coaching a high-profile NCAA Division I team – and all the travel involved – was wearing her down. She told Halliburton that she spent 90 days on the road last year and began ''soul searching'' over the holidays while she was home with her family in Wisconsin.
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''We appreciate the difficulty of Martha's decision,'' said UT Women's Athletic Director Chris Plonsky in a statement. ''She's been involved in intercollegiate athletics since she was 18 years old and has coached since age 25. That's a long-term connection not easily cut away, but she's appropriately weighed and prioritized the importance of being able to perform at the highest level when you're feeling your very best.''
Richards graduated from Stanford in 1993, played the LPGA Tour in 1995 and 1996, and became the women's head coach at Boise State in 1997. She took over as assistant coach at Texas in 1998, then served as head coach at Vanderbilt from 2000 through 2007, when she returned to UT as women's head coach.
She led the Longhorns to the 2011 Big 12 Confererence title, and her Texas teams made the NCAA tournament five times. At Vanderbilt in 2004, her squad won the SEC Championship and she was named the 2003 and 2004 SEC Coach of the Year. And as a player at Stanford, she made the All-PAC 10 Conference team in 1003 and was named to the PAC 10 all-decade team for the 1990s.
She made no indication of her future plans. Plonsky said UT would begin a nationwide search for a replacement ''at an appropriate time.''