During her sixth season at the helm of the Washington State University women’s golf team, Kelli Kamimura led the Cougars to their lowest team scoring average in school history. The WSU women averaged 299.45 strokes per round, while freshman Alivia Brown earned a bid to the NCAA St. George Regional, becoming the first WSU freshman to qualify as an individual. Kamimura coached Brown to a career-best sixth-place finish and a berth into the NCAA Championships, the second appearance for the Cougars in program history.
At the 2014 WSU Cougar Cup, Kamimura led the Cougars to their fifth tournament win in as many years. WSU carded a three-round 867, the third-best 54-hole total in school history. Kamimura guided two golfers into the WSU all-time top-5 for scoring average as senior Kristen Rue averaged 74.36 strokes per round (third all-time) and freshman Alivia Brown averaged 74.74 (fifth all-time).
In addition to the athletic success of the 2014-15 team, five Cougars earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors. Junior Rachel Lewis was named to the first team for the second-consecutive season. Fellow junior Nani Yanagi earned second team honors. Seniors Kristen Rue and Lindsay Harmon, as well as sophomore Cherokee Kim earned honorable mention.
The 2012-13 squad finished second or third in four events while Kristen Rue was named Pac-12 All-Academic Second team to lead three Cougars honored for their work in the classroom. Rue also won the Cougar Cup in the fall. Following the season, Kent was crowned champion of the Washington State Women’s Amateur Championship.
The Cougars captured a pair of tournament titles in 2011-12. Washington State took home the hardware at the Circling Raven Collegiate Invitational, the season-opening event in Worley, Idaho, and The Anteater Invitational hosted by UC Irvine in March. During the second victory, Mallory Kent led the way with an individual title. Kristen Allard was a second team all-conference academic to highlight three Cougars selected.
In 2010-11, Kamimura continued her plan of collecting young talent and allowing them to gain experience in the premier golf conference in the nation. The results included four top-10 finishes highlighted by a one-stroke victory over Washington to claim the 2010 Cougar Cup. Other top-10 finishes included the Circling Raven Collegiate Cup (7th), Dr. Donnis Thompson Invitational (eighth) and Peg Barnard Invitational (ninth). The Cougars capped the year by placing four on the Pac-10 All-Academic team, led by senior Allison Travis, who was a first-team selection.
In her first season with the Cougars, Kamimura guided a young squad comprising of three freshmen, a sophomore and a redshirt junior to a second-place finish at the Giustina Memorial. WSU also placed two individuals on the Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic Teams.
Kamimura arrived at Washington from Pepperdine University. She began her tenure with Pepperdine in January 2006, as an assistant coach and was promoted to associate women’s golf coach in August 2007. Kamimura helped lead Pepperdine to six-consecutive West Coast Conference Championships (2004-09) and four top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a third-place effort in 2006. Kamimura’s 2008 squad set an NCAA record for lowest three-round team score, shooting 41-under-par at the Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown.
Prior to joining Pepperdine’s staff, Kamimura served as the assistant women’s golf coach at Washington, her alma mater, from August 2002 through December 2003.
A four-year letterwinner and a two-year team captain during her collegiate career, Kamimura was a National Golf Coaches Association All-America Second Team selection as a junior in 2001 and was named honorable mention as a freshman in 1999. She received All-Pacific-10 Conference recognition all four years, garnering first-team honors in both 1999 and 2001. She was also a three-time honoree on the Pac-10 All-Academic Team (2000-02).
Kamimura led the Huskies to five tournament victories and two NCAA Championship berths, and still holds the school’s record for most individual tournament victories (four). She was also selected to represent the United States in the 1999 and 2002 US-Japan Cup Matches.
During her high school career, Kamimura captured the state championship four times and led Sedro Woolley to the team title in 1997 with her sister Jenny Swanson. She won two state titles as a competitor in the Washington Junior Golf Association, was a multiple first-team American Junior Golf Association All-America honoree and a was member of the Canon Cup team.
Kamimura graduated from Washington in 2002 with a bachelor’s in communication, and completed her master’s in business administration from Pepperdine in 2008.