In the space of 10 years, MaryJo McCloskey, the two time NCAA Division III West Region Coach of the Year and four-time Northwest Conference Coach of the Year, has turned a non-existent George Fox University program into one of the most dominant in the country with seven straight top-10 finishes nationally and seven straight Northwest Conference titles.
In 2015-16, the Bruins earned their highest finish in program history at the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament with a tie for third place. The finish marks the second time the Bruins will bring home a trophy from the Tournament. The fourth and final round at the 2016 NCAA Division III Women's Golf Championships was canceled due to weather, leaving Thursday's third round as the official final round. The Bruins entered the season ranked at No. 2, according to golfstat.com. The Bruins went on to win eight tournaments, and even managed to go undefeated in March, winning all four tournaments they entered. The Bruins also won their seven straight Northwest Conference title. Sydney Maluenda was named Northwest Conference Player of the Year for the third straight year, making her the first player in program history to garner the award three straight years. The Bruins also recorded four All-Americans, the most in program history as Maluenda, Hailey Ostrom, Kristin Elich and Iris Kawada made the list. McCloskey also earned her second West Region Coach of the Year award, with her first coming back in 2009-10.
In 2014-15, the Bruins entered the preseason with their highest computer ranking since the program started in 2006 at No. 2, according to golfstat.com. They went on to win five tournaments and even finished second at the O’Brien National Invitational, which earned them their highest finish at the tournament in the last five years. The Bruins swept the NWC honors as Sydney Maluenda, Loreece Magsanide and Hailey Ostrom all made All-NWC First Team, while Kristin Elich was named All-NWC Second Team. Maluenda was also named NWC Golfer of the Year and Coach McCloskey grabbed her third straight NWC Coach of the Year award. The Bruins went on to finish T6th at the NCAA Div. III Women’s Golf National Championship, and Maluenda was named PING WGCA Div. III Player of the Year. The Bruins finished the season ranked at No. 5 and will use that ranking as they gear up for 2015-16.
In the 2013-14 season, the Bruins received a preseason ranking of No. 15 and recorded eight Top 2 finishes on the season. The Bruins won four straight tournaments heading into the NCAA Div. III National Championship, which marked their fifth straight NCAA appearance. The young Bruins placed ninth out of 21 teams after four rounds and looked poised for a successful 2014-15 season. Freshman Sydney Maluenda was named NCAA Div. III Rookie Golfer of the Year and was named Northwest Conference Women’s Golfer of the Year. Coach McCloskey received her second straight NWC Coach of the Year honor.
The 2012-13 was the Bruins’ best season up to that point as they went 81-20 while playing more Division II teams, won eight tournament titles including all three NWC events, and secured the NWC championship for the fourth year in a row. McCloskey received her second NWC Coach of the Year award for that achievement. The Bruins earned their fourth straight trip to the NCAA National Championship, where they took home a NCAA trophy by finishing fourth, their highest finish to date, at the Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort in Miramar Beach, Fla. In the final Golf World / WGCA poll, George Fox was ranked third.
In 2011-12, the Bruins compiled a 74-23 record, captured six tournament titles, finished second twice, and won the NWC championship for the third year in a row, sharing top honors with Whitman College. Again earning an at-large bid to the NCAA National Championship, the Bruins finished seventh at the tournament in Angola, Ind. They were ranked No. 7 in the nation in the final Golf World / WGCA Division III poll.
In 2010-11, George Fox won seven tournaments and captured its second straight Northwest Conference title, with McCloskey receiving her first NWC Coach of the Year award. The Bruins were ranked No. 7 by Golf World and the NGCA in the final regular-season ratings before placing 12th in their second straight NCAA Division III National Championship at Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
George Fox women’s golf finally made its presence known on the national scene during the 2009-10 season as the Bruins went 65-9, shared their first NWC championship with Whitworth University, and were ranked No. 7 in the final regular season national ratings by Golf World magazine and the-then National Golf Coaches Association (now the Women’s Golf Coaches Association). Receiving their first bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships as an at-large entry, the Bruins finished eighth at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., and McCloskey was named the West Region Coach of the Year by the NGCA.
McCloskey initiated the George Fox program for the 2006-07 and by their second season, the Bruins had a winning record and finished fifth in the NWC. During their third season, the team posted another winning record, including four multi-team tournaments wins, and even secured a brief listing in the NCAA Division III national ratings.
During McCloskey’s short nine-year tenure at George Fox, the program has already produced the 2012-13 & 2014-15 National Player of the Year, eight All-Americans, including five First Team and three Second Team selections, 13 All-Region selections, and 23 All-Conference players. The program has also produced 5 All-American Scholar-Athletes.
McCloskey joined the Bruin staff in the spring of 2006 after eight years building a strong women’s team at Lewis & Clark College. Under her guidance, the Pioneers placed second in the NWC championship for three consecutive seasons from 2003-05. The program produced one NWC individual champion, two NWC Fall Classic individual champions, one Academic All-American, and numerous All-Conference players. In 2002, she coached the NCAA Division III Freshman of the Year. She also has served for several years on the NCAA Division III Women’s Golf Championship Selection Committee. In 2013, McCloskey was elevated to role of director of golf overseeing the development of both the men’s and women’s golf teams at the university.
A graduate of St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Ore., where she played varsity golf for four years, McCloskey went on to play in the collegiate ranks at the University of Oregon. She joined Lewis & Clark as an assistant golf coach in 1996, becoming head coach the following year.
A member of the Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Ore., McCloskey has competed in several amateur tournaments in the Pacific Northwest, including the Oregon Amateur, the Oregon Coast Invitational, and the Pacific Northwest Amateur. A three-time club champion, she maintains a single-digit handicap.
McCloskey was elected as the NCAA Division III Director of the Women Golf Coaches Association in 2015. She will attend the national convention and assist in helping the Division grow stronger. Currently, she also serves as an Executive Board Member for Tournament Golf Foundation (TGF). TGF runs and operates the LPGA Portland Classic, which is an annual tour stop in the summer for the LPGA, bringing in top LPGA pro's and raising significant funds for local charities. She served on the Children's Course Board/First Tee of Portland for 12 years and continues to help the organization as needed.
McCloskey has a bachelor of arts in marketing from the University of Oregon, and completed a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Portland in 1989. She and her husband Rick, also an avid golfer, reside in Tualatin, Ore.
2009-10 NCAA Division III Region 5 (West) Coach of the Year
2010-11 Northwest Conference Coach of the Year
2012-13 Northwest Conference Coach of the Year
2013-14 Northwest Conference Coach of the Year
2014-15 Northwest Conference Coach of the Year
2015-16 NCAA Division III Region 5 (West) Coach of the Year