NIU Women’s golf team slipped two spots in final round
Kim Kester is in her fourth season as head coach of the Northern Illinois University women's golf program. Since her arrival at NIU, Kester has raised the talent and competition level of the Huskie women’s golf program.
Under her tutelage, the Huskie golfers have re-written the NIU record book. The Huskies have set or tied four team records, and three individual marks. One can also find team and individual scores throughout the NIU record book from Kester-coached teams.
During her tenure, Kester has taken NIU’s recruiting base international with the signing of Lena Gautier from Le Celle Saint Cloud, France. Gautier has been worth the trip across the pond, leading the Huskies in stroke average in each of the last two seasons. Gautier took first in the 2014 Diane Thomason Invitational in the fall and finished fourth at the 2015 MAC Golf Championships with a 230 (54 holes), both school bests. She also earned second-team All-MAC honors and was a member of the MAC All-Tournament Team in 2015.
The Huskies have also excelled in the classroom under Kester. Samantha Coyne, Sydney Brickey, Taylor Ellett, Connie Ellett, Lena Gautier, and Casey LaBarbera have all earned Academic All-MAC accolades, while the Ellett sisters, Coyne, LaBarbera and Allie Parthie garnered Women’s Golf Coaches Association Division I All-American Scholar honors.
Kester came to Northern Illinois in August of 2012 after spending the three seasons as a graduate assistant for the women's golf team at her alma mater, Toledo. She helped lead the Rockets to a third-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championship in 2010 and 2012. During her tenure at Toledo, Kester served as academic coordinator and assisted in the recruiting duties for the Rockets.
Prior to returning to Toledo, Kester was the head girls golf coach at Forest Hills Northern High School in Grand Rapids, Mich. from February 2008-May 2009.
A standout golfer for the Rockets, Kester is a two-time second-team All-MAC honoree and posted the second-lowest single-season stroke average in school history with her 76.5 mark in her junior campaign. In that season, she led UT with six top-five finishes and tied for the team lead with eight top-10 showings. She also helped the Rockets post a school-best runner-up finish at the 2006 MAC Championship. A three-time team captain for the Rockets, Kester was Toledo's MVP in 2006-07.
Kester, a native of Ada, Mich., had a solid amateur career as well. She captured the Golf Association of Michigan Women's Mid-Amateur Championship in August 2011 with a four-under 140. Kester captured the Grand Rapids Women's City Championship in 2005 and 2006. In 2005, she finished with a three-day total of eight-under 214 (76-66-72) posting a course-record 66 in the second round. Kester also placed fourth at the 2005 GAM Women's Championship and reached the Sweet 16 of the 2005 Michigan Women's Amatuer.
A 2007 graduate of Toledo, Kester earned her bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure studies and received her master's degree in special education in 2011.