Former athletic director at Princeton replaces Mike Whan, who announced his resignation earlier this year and will lead the USGA

(Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in Morning Read and was authored by Steve Harmon)

The LPGA turned toward college athletics to find its next leader.

Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the athletic director at Princeton University, will replace Mike Whan as the women’s tour’s ninth commissioner. Her hiring was announced on Tuesday.

Whan announced in January that he would be leaving after 11 years as the LPGA commissioner, though he left open his departure date. One month later, he was named executive director of the U.S. Golf Association.

Marcoux Samaan had been the athletic director at Princeton, her alma mater and a founding member of the Ivy League, since 2014. She also spent 19 years in management at Chelsea Piers Management, which owns and operates sports complexes, after a brief tenure as a coach and administrator at Lawrenceville (N.J.) School.

“Mollie understands the power of golf to change the lives of girls and women,” said Diane Gulyas, chair of the LPGA board of directors and the search committee.

“I believe passionately that sports have the power to change the world,” Marcoux Samaan said. “And in this moment in time – with the positive energy around women’s sports, women’s leadership and society’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion – I believe the LPGA has an incredible opportunity to use our platform for positive change.

“I’ve devoted my career to developing character, confidence and opportunities through sports. My mission and the LPGA’s mission are fully aligned: providing women and girls the opportunity to achieve their dreams through golf.”

Marcoux Samaan, who was raised in upstate New York, played varsity soccer and ice hockey at Princeton, graduating in 1991. Her senior thesis as a history major perhaps foretold of her eventual career move into golf: “The social construction of sport and gender: A history of women’s golf from 1895 to 1955.”

Now, Marcoux Samaan will have a chance to write a few new chapters in the women’s game, dedicated to the 21st century.

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