WKU’s Joiner named C-USA Women’s Golf Scholar Athlete of the Year


Credit: WKU Athletics

Graduate Mary Joiner (left) and head coach Adam Gary (right) at the Indian Hills Country Club on April 5, 2021 during the dual match against Austin Peay. 

Drew Toennies, Sports reporter

WKU senior Mary Joiner was named the 2020-21 Conference USA Scholar Athlete of the Year for Women’s Golf, the conference announced on Wednesday afternoon. Joiner is the lone WKU representative of student-athletes chosen.

“Mary has been an instrumental part in changing the status of our golf program,” head coach Adam Gary said in a press release. “She has raised the bar athletically and academically while literally rewriting the record book. A new standard has been set for future players to strive for. I feel very fortunate to have Mary join Ellinor Haag in winning this award while I’ve been their coach.”

The awards were voted on by 14 Faculty Athletics Representatives and were awarded to the most impressive student-athletes in each conference based on their GPA, athletic achievements and acts of service over the course of their intercollegiate career.

Joiner is the sixth student-athlete from The Hill to receive the award since WKU joined the conference back in 2014. The Franklin, Ky. native joins Mary Lever (2015, Cross Country), Ellinor Haag (2016, Women’s Golf), Kendall Noble (2016-2017, Women’s Basketball), Morgan McIntyre (2018, Track & Field) and Jessica Lucas (2018, Volleyball) in the exclusive club of student-athletes.

Joiner has been at WKU for five years and has earned three degrees, a Bachelor’s in Financial Management in May 2019, a Master’s in Business Administration in August 2020 and a Bachelor’s in Business Data Analytics in May 2021. Joiner graduated with a 3.89 GPA while additionally posting a 4.00 GPA for her MBA program.

Joiner was a three-time All-Conference selection in C-USA during her carer at WKU, named to the First Team in both 2018 and 2021 as well as the Third Team in 2019. Joiner also was named to the C-USA Women’s Golf All-Academic Team in 2018. Joiner earned the second-most weekly awards for women’s golf in the league’s history (8) and is the most successful female golfer in C-USA history with six individual victories.

The NCAA’s blanket waiver due to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed Joiner to exercise her fifth year of eligibility. She played 144 career rounds of intercollegiate golf, tying for seventh in NCAA Women’s Golf history for career rounds played.

Joiner’s name is atop the WKU Women’s Golf records in multiple categories including the lowest 18, 36, and 54-hole scores. Joiner additionally holds four of the top six season stroke averages in program history, including the top two. Her career stroke average of 73.92 is better than any other Lady Topper in program history by nearly an entire shot.

Alongside Joiner’s academic and athletic achievements in her time at WKU, she also served as a women’s golf representative on WKU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for all five of her years as a Hilltopper.

The full list of honorees can be found here.

Sports reporter Drew Toennies can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.