LPGA names Princeton Athletic Director Mollie Marcoux Samaan as new commissioner
On Tuesday, the LPGA announced the appointment of the ninth commissioner in the organization’s 71-year history: Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the current Ford Family Director of Athletics at Princeton University, will succeed Mike Whan, who informed the LPGA of his decision to step down late last year and has since been named as the new CEO of the USGA.
Marcoux Samaan brings with her decades of leadership experience: first, as assistant athletic director, assistant dean of admissions, and coach of girls’ ice hockey and soccer at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, then a 19-year tenure at Chelsea Piers Management in New York City, and most recently, as Princeton’s AD, where she was the first woman ever to hold the position, for the last seven years.
Marcoux Samaan graduated cum laude from Princeton in 1991 and was a two-sport varsity athlete, competing on both the ice hockey and soccer teams. She was named First Team All-Ivy in in ice hockey all four years, and was named to the collegiate women’s ice hockey Team of the Decade in 1990. She also received Princeton’s C. Otto von Kienbusch Sportswoman of the Year Award during her senior year, which honors the university’s top female athlete who also displays high scholastic rank and sportsmanship.
As if all that wasn’t impressive enough, Marcoux Samaan has plenty of golf cred, too. After taking up the game at 11 years old, she was runner-up in her local city championship in upstate New York by age 14, and is a five-time club champion at North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue, N.Y.
“The LPGA Commissioner role is one of the best jobs in sports today and the opportunity of a lifetime,” Marcoux Samaan said in a press release. “I’m passionate about the game of golf and have been an LPGA fan since I was a little girl. I appreciate the LPGA’s history and the tenacity of its 13 Founders. I’m truly inspired by our Tour players and teaching professionals. I’m excited to dive into the LPGA initiatives to impact women and girls in the game at every age and ability. And, to learn about and contribute to all aspects of the LPGA’s business.
“I believe passionately that sports have the power to change the world,” she continued. “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.”
Marcoux Samaan was unanimously elected by the LPGA’s 2021 Board of Directors, which is comprised of the Commissioner, eight LPGA Members (including Lydia Ko and Michelle Wie West) and six Independent Directors. LPGA legend Juli Inkster was a part of the Search Committee, which was comprised of four LPGA members and three independent directors.
“We were impressed and honored by the large number of quality leaders interested in the LPGA,” Inkster said in the press release. “But in the end, Mollie stood above the rest. We were impressed by her track record working with athletes; with her ability to forge new and innovative partnerships; and with her personal passion, authenticity and proven persistence for excellence.”
Marcoux Samaan will spend the next few months working with the LPGA Board and Princteton University to transition into her new role.
“I’ve devoted my career to developing character, confidence and opportunities through sports,” Marcoux Samaan said. “My mission and the LPGA’s mission are fully aligned: providing women and girls the opportunity to achieve their dreams through golf.”