Former Player, Coach Karen Bahnsen In 2023 Alabama Sports Hall Of Fame Class
BATON ROUGE – Karen Mayson Bahnsen, the first recruit of LSU women’s golf and later the longtime coach of the LSU team, was announced this week as a member of the 2023 induction class of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in Birmingham.
The announcement was made by the Board of Directors of the HOF after balloting by a statewide selection committee. This will be the 55th Class inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. The eight newly elected inductees will bring the total number of members to 393.
The Induction Banquet and Ceremony will be held in the Birmingham Ballroom at the Sheraton Birmingham Hotel, on May 13, 2023.
Joining Bahnsen in the class are football players Karlos Dansby, Roman Harper, Roddy White and Coach Jackie Sherill. Representing basketball in the class are Larry Kenon, Theo Ratliff and Gerald Wallace.
Bahnsen adds her home state Hall of Fame to hall of fame honors from the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame and her 2009 induction into the Women’s Golf Coaches Hall of Fame. She joined her late mother, also a coach of the game in the state of Alabama and four-time state champion, in the Mobile Hall of Fame.
In her hometown of Mobile, Bahnsen was a prep All-American at McGill-Toolen High School where she led the school to two state titles and in 1979 won the state individual championship and the National High School Tournament title.
She was the first recruit of a fledgling LSU women’s golf program that was being started for the 1979-80 season and helped mold the team that would become to first to tee it up for LSU women’s golf.
Bahnsen graduated from LSU in 1984 and subsequently was named the women’s head coach prior to the 1984-85 season. In her second year, she had the number one player in the country, five team titles and a top 10 NCAA Championship finish. She would continue that success until her retirement following the 2018 season.
That number one player, Jenny Lidback, won seven college titles for LSU, in 1986 and would add a major LPGA title to her resume’.
Bahnsen in many ways became a historian for the sport of college golf, especially at LSU and the Southeastern Conference. She has seen the sport improve in so many ways with better equipment, better scores and better players. She has now seen the sport she loves advance into the television age as the Golf Channel devotes hours of coverage during the season to tournament and the wall-to-wall coverage of the NCAA Championships and its exciting match play finals.
Over 20 times, the Tigers were in postseason play. Seven times her teams finished in the top 10 including impressive third place finishes in 2011 and 2012. She coached the NCAA champion in 2011 as freshman Austin Ernst posted a six-under 66 to win the individual title to start the honors for a player who has gone on to win three times on the LPGA Tour.
Bahnsen’s love and desire for a program she devoted over half her life to is what gave her a smiling satisfaction about a program she virtually helped design from scratch. She pushed LSU women’s golf into the national spotlight, a position it continues to hold to this day.
Again, come May 2023, the spotlight will shine on her as well as she joins the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.