In three seasons at SIU, head coach Alexis Mihelich has had 10 student-athletes honored as All-American Scholars.
SIU has signed Alice Ho (Wadsworth High School/Wadsworth, Ohio) and Hanna Netisingha (West Chicago Community HS/Carol Stream, Ill.) for the 2014-15 season.
Senior Cassie Rushing earned her fourth consecutive All-Conference honor.
Southern also received two first-place votes behind favorite Wichita State.
Freshman Xianmei Jin finished in first place after shooting a 76, winning by two strokes.
Alexis Mihelich has continued the tradition of excellence in Saluki women's golf after three seasons at the helm, accruing nine team tournament titles and eight individual tournament titles. In addition, the team earned four team runner up finishes and four individual runner ups. In 36 total tournaments spanning three seasons, the Salukis have finished in the top five 27 times. Mihelich was named women's golf head coach at Southern Illinois University on Aug. 5, 2011.
In her first year, Mihelich led the Salukis to four tournament wins (Ball State, SIUE, Saluki, NIU), the most wins in a single season since records started being consistently kept in 1983. An SIU golfer won medalist honors in five of the team's 11 tournaments (SIUE, NIU, Saluki, MAC preview, and Ball State), and four different Salukis won at least one tournament. Salukis finished runner up as a team three times (Creigton, Bradley, and ISU) and had two individual runner up finishes (SIUE and MVC Championships). For the season, southern finished among the top three teams in nine tournaments, including a third-place finish at the MVC Championship.
Three golfers were first-team All-Conference selections and another was a member of the seven-person MVC Scholar-Athlete team. Alisha Matthews set a MVC Championship record with a single-round score of 67. SIU had six MVC Golfers of the Week. Four players earned National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar honors under Mihelich's watch.
In her second year at the helm of the program, SIU won the SIUE Intercollegiate, giving Mihelich five tournament titles in two years. Two Salukis both won individual titles on the year (Middle Tennessee and SIUE), giving Mihelich seven medalist golfers in her first two years. The Salukis also had one Individual Runner up finish at Tennessee Tech. The team produced three MVC Golfers of the Week, two All-Conference players, a third-place finish at the MVC Championship, nine straight top-five finishes. Two Salukis earned spots on the MVC Scholar-Athlete team and three players made the WGCA All-American Scholar team -- the second consecutive year Mihelich landed at least three of her student-athletes on the list.
In her third year, the Salukis won four team titles, the second time in her Saluki career to win four tournament titles in a single season (UMKC, Middle Tennessee, Bradley and Saluki). The team had one Runner Up finish at Murray State. On the Individual side, the team boasted one medalist honor at the Dual at Dalhousie bringing her medalist victory total to eight and having one Individual Runner Up at UMKC bringing that total to four. Five different Salukis placed in the top five individually on the season. The Salukis boasted one MVC player of the week, 1 MVC All Conference selection, and one MVC All-Scholar athlete. For the third consecutive year, at least three Salukis earned WGCA All American Scholar honors.
Mihelich served four years as women's golf head coach at Chicago State (2007-11). At CSU, she turned a last-place program into one that competed for tournament titles. Her 2010-2011 squad won three events and finished in the top three of four tournaments and top five in 9 events, including a third-place finish at the Great West Conference Championship. Her 2008-2009 squad recorded three team tournament wins (IPFW, Chi-Town Showdown, St Francis), one Individual Champion (St. Francis), and one Individual Runner Up (Green Bay).
In 2010, Mihelich was honored with the NIU Huskie Classic Coaches Award, becoming the first coach outside of the Mid-American Conference to win the honor since 2003 after her team's third place finish at the 2010 NIU Huskie Classic. After her final season at Chicago State in 2010-11, Mihelich earned Midwest Section Coach of the Year honors by the LPGA for her outstanding accomplishments in collegiate women's golf.
"The dramatic improvement at Chicago State under Alexis' watch is a testament to her ability to lead a collegiate golf program," said Director of Athletics Mario Moccia. "During the interview process, I was impressed with her vision for our golf program. She is committed to helping young women become the best they can be -- academically, socially and competitively on the golf course."
Before coming to Southern, Mihelich was an assistant at St. Francis (2005-07) and Robert Morris College (2007). She also served as interim head men's golf coach at Chicago State for the 2009-2010 season.
Mihelich has family ties to Southern Illinois. Her uncle, Skip Cosgrove, was an assistant softball coach for 22 years before retiring in 2010. Several relatives, including her brother, Adam, are Saluki alumni.
Mihelich played Division I golf at the University of New Orleans. She was a team captain her senior year and represented the squad on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. She graduated with honors in 2005 with a degree in education.
Mihelich has played professionally in LPGA T&CP events including the 2007 and 2008 Midwest Section Championship and the 2008 LPGA T&CP National Championship at Pinehurst. Alexis Mihelich has been an active member of the LPGA since 2005 and a former Teaching Professional at Green Garden Golf Academy (2005-2007).
She completed the United States Army Leadership Training Course in 2003 and is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of America. She provided the golf swing model for the arcade game "Golden Tee Live" that was featured in the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. She was also the personal golf instructor for late comedian Bernie Mac and a consultant on the set of his movie, "Soul Men."