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Missy Farr-Kaye proves her resilience after two cancer battles and loss of her sister

Womens' Golf head coach opens up about her love of ASU and how cancer affected her

Monica Vaughn, Women's Golf, April 10, 2015
Sophomore, Monica Vaughn tees off on the ninth hole on Friday, April 10, 2015 at Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, AZ.

After 13 years a Sun Devil coach, ASU alumni and former player Missy Farr-Kaye was named the head coach for ASU’s women's golf team after former head coach Melissa Luellen assumed the same position at Auburn University.

This job has been viewed very highly by the former associate coach of the ASU golf team.

“It truly is my honor to guide this program and continue the history of excellence,” Farr-Kaye said.

Farr-Kaye has a notable career as a player for ASU, being a part of the school’s first NCAA championship for women’s golf in 1990. After playing, Farr-Kaye never anticipated she would be a golf coach for ASU, but in 2002, her good friend Luellen added her to the lineup as a coach, giving her a chance to continue to do what she loves.

“I was so excited when I was hired to coach with Melissa in the fall of 2002,” Farr-Kaye said. “The thought of coaching and helping my alma mater was very important to me. I had no idea at that time that I would love it so much and that coaching would become a huge part of my life.”

Farr-Kaye has gone through a lot in her life. She beat cancer twice and lost her sister Heather Farr, a fellow ASU alum, to cancer.

Despite these obstacles, Farr-Kaye has always found a way to keep moving and remain motivating to her players and the people around her, thanks to her own role model.

“I battled breast cancer for the second time back in 2008 while I was coaching at ASU,” Farr-Kaye said. “My role model in life was always my sister Heather. I followed her path in golf and then I followed how she fought cancer. She was brave, courageous, inspiring and strong. Every day I try to exemplify what Heather stood for on and off the golf course.”

Farr-Kaye knows that cancer, particularly breast cancer, has scarred so many people and although she has gone on to talk to people with the illness, it’s something she won’t let control her life or describe her.

“I get asked all the time to talk to women who are fighting breast cancer,” Farr-Kaye said. "I try to give them encouragement and hope. But at the same time I never want to be defined by breast cancer alone.”

One of the biggest reasons Farr-Kaye got the job was her relationship and connection with the players.

The players, particularly junior all-American Monica Vaughn, all have a great relationship with her and felt she was the best choice for the job.

“Missy is not only a coach to me, but she's like a second mom and a friend,” Vaughn said. “Our bond became a lot stronger towards the end of last year when she walked with me and coached me during my win at our home tournament. We share a lot of the same point of views about the game of golf and that’s why I think we work so well together out on the course. She knows what I need and she puts so much confidence in my teammates and I.”

The team this year got a lot of talent back and also got a couple of freshmen who’ve already had playing time at the GolfWeek Conference Championship in which the team took third place.

Those freshmen, Madison Kerley and Linnea Strom, knew what type of program they were joining when they picked ASU.

“Their golf program is great and I talked to some Swedish players that had went to ASU before me and everyone was talking good about the school, the coaches and the golf,” Strom said.

This is a team that has the Farr-Kaye mentality written all over it.

Nothing exemplifies that more when adversity struck on the second day of the GolfWeek Conference Championship. The team hit a miserable +17 that day but found a way to rally, jumping to third place after hitting -9 on the third day.

“I was very proud of how my team hung in there and finished strong the last day,” Farr-Kaye said. “I have always felt that what cancer taught me was to be strong and resilient. Hopefully I will teach that to my players.”

Related Links:

ASU hires Missy Farr-Kaye as its women's golf coach

Monica Vaughn wins share of individual title at PING/ASU Invitational


Reach the reporter at osoussi@asu.edu or follow @omarksoussi on Twitter.

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