Lou Hart becomes first female in NJCAA Hall of Fame
The 2016 inductees into the NJCAA Men’s Golf Coaches Association were this week. This year’s class is headlined by the first female member in former Meridian (Miss.) golfer and coach Lou Weddington Hart.
Lou Weddington Hart
Golfer/Coach – Meridian (MS)
Arriving at Meridian in 1970 – two years prior to the enactment of Title IX – Hart became the first female to play for a men’s golf team in the state of Mississippi. Despite the historical significance of her participation, it was her success on the golf course that earned her recognition. Hart’s talents propelled the Eagles to consecutive Mississippi Association of Community & Junior Colleges (MACJC) conference titles in 1971 and 1972. Her accolades extended to the classroom where she received the H.M. Ivy Award from Meridian – the institution’s highest honor for a student’s achievements in the classroom and community.
In 1972, Hart transferred to Florida State where she earned an athletic scholarship playing for the women’s team. After claiming women’s state amateur titles in 1972 and 1973, Hart qualified for the 1974 AIAW Golf Championship – a predecessor of the NCAA Women’s Golf Championship.
Over the course of three decades as an amateur golfer, Hart compiled nine Mississippi Women’s Golf Association state amateur titles. She was a quarterfinalist at the 1978 Women’s Southern Golf Association (WSGA) Amateur Championship, qualifier for the 1979 USGA National Women’s Amateur Championship and two-time medalist in the USGA Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship in 1987 and 1991. At the 2003 USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, Hart earned a tie for sixth place after the 36-hole qualifier.
Returning to Meridian in 1994, Hart assumed the position of head coach for the Eagles men’s golf team. During her tenure, Meridian compiled seven NJCAA Region 23 championships and claimed a runner-up finish at the 1998 NJCAA Division II Men’s Golf Championship – the highest finish in program history. At the time of her retirement from Meridian in 2006, Hart had coached 12 NJCAA All-Americans, eight regional medalists and four NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Award winners.
A charter member of both the Meridian and MACJC halls of fame, Hart was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 – joining her father Hunter George Weddington to become the first father-daughter duo in the hall’s history.