LPGA Bestows Another Accolade on Saline Golf Coach Debbie Williams-Hoak


Debbie Williams-Hoak was honored last week as the LPGA Coach of the Year.

The award was presented at the LPGA Rolex Awards ceremony.

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Williams-Hoak is a Saline resident who's one of the longest-serving varsity coaches in Saline High School Athletics. She's coach of the Saline boys' and girls' varsity golf teams.

In her storied athletics career, Williams-Hoak has achieved many honors. In 2022, she was inducted into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor for her track and field career. At Michigan, she was the first Big 10 champion in Michigan women's track and field history and she won four Big 10 titles in the javelin. 

The all-around athlete went on compete in seven US Olympic Festivals - six in track and field and one in softball. That was before she qualified for the LPGA tour and turned pro in 1995.

She picked up the sport so well that she turned into a teacher. She's the director of the Brookside Golf Academy in Saline and coach at Saline High School. In 2017, she was named Michigan High School Girls Golf Coach of the Year.

The honors and accolades for Williams-Hoak come so often that it's hard to keep track. Still, she's very proud of this honor from the LPGA.

"I am so grateful and honored to receive this prestigious award. It is so humbling. From all my student-athletes over the years to Betsy French who got me into high school coaching and Rob White who hired me at Saline, I am so grateful," Williams-Hoak sad. "I am also so grateful to the Saline schools as it has been a privilege to be one of their coaches for 16 years."

The LPGA Coach of the Year Award was established in 1981 and it's presented each year to a woman golf professional who is actively engaged in the teaching and or coaching of golf at the college, university or high school level.  The coach must demonstrate good overall performance in coaching, service and participation in the LPGA, leadership and dedication in development of student-athletes, and contribution to the community and golf industry.

Williams-Hoak started as a JV coach in Saline 16 years ago.

"I fell in love with coaching golf to high school student-athletes and just have immersed myself in doing anything I can to empower these young people, get them to enjoy and love a great game and create positive memories for them," Williams-Hoak said.

During her coaching career, she moved up from JV to varsity. She's coached teams to league and regional championships. She became President of the Michigan Coaches Association and of the Golf Coaches Association.

Now, she's the LPGA Coach of the Year.

This isn't some retirement award, either. Williams-Hoak has no plans to quit coaching Saline athletes or coaching coaches in the state of Michigan.

"I am excited to continue coaching both the boys and girls teams at Saline and also help to make a difference for our coaches throughout the state," Williams-Hoak said.

Williams-Hoak said she's been also been fortunate to coach at Brookside Golf Course, where Mike Johnson has been supportive of her and the Saline golf teams.

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