Kristi Knight enters her 18th year as head women's golf coach at Kansas State and currently reigns as the longest-tenured head women's golf coach in the Big 12.
"I was encouraged to become a coach by my coach at Oklahoma," Knight said. "I am forever grateful to Coach Ludvigson for that."
A native of Crockett, Texas, Knight graduated from Norman (Okla.) High School. She played collegiate golf at Oklahoma from 1985-88. Knight was a consistent player for the Sooners, lettering three years under head coach Carol Ludvigson. As a senior, Knight was named team co-captain and selected as a Scholastic All-American. After earning her bachelor's degree, Knight began working at the prestigious Oak Tree Country Club in Edmond, Okla.,and then went on to earn her master's degree in sports administration from Oklahoma in 1993.
"I am a competitive person and I love the challenges and rewards that coaching provides," Knight said. "It has taken me places I never would've gone. The relationships you build and the friendships you make with everyone are great."
Knight has guided the Wildcats to six collegiate wins. The first was at the Northern Iowa Classic, Sept. 23, 1996. The Wildcats also claimed the team titles at the Mountain View Collegiate, March 24, 2002, the Sunflower Invitational, Oct. 15, 2002, and while hosting the Marilynn Smith/Sunflower Invitational, Oct. 13-14, 2003. K-State also took the trophy at the Texas A&M Mo'Morial March 1-2, 2004.
"Being able to coach at a university like K-State is an honor," Knight said. "It is a great academic institution in a community of tremendous people."
Since her arrival in 1995, the Wildcats have placed in the top five at 54 tournaments and in the top three 34 times. Under Knight, Trisha Hoover became K-State's first all-conference women's golfer in 1996. Christine Boucher finished second in the Big 12 Conference Championship in 2002, the highest ever for a Wildcat in a conference championship and grabbed Second Team All-Big 12 honors. She was named to the first team in 2003, and in 2004 Boucher was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. As a team, the Wildcats' highest finish at the Big 12 Championship came in 2010 as they placed fourth.
Knight has guided 37 players to Academic All-Big 12 selections in her 17 years at K-State. In 2011 alone, she had four players make the Academic All-Big 12 team.
"My goal is for my players to improve their game and develop as a person during their time at K-State," Knight said. "I want each young lady to leave K-State with the ability and opportunity to achieve their goals. This is an important time in their lives. When they arrive, many of them are unsure what they want to do or what they think they can do. I want to make sure they know they can accomplish anything they put their heart and mind to."
Under Knight, the Wildcats qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships four straight years, from 2001-04. Knight also guided Boucher to the NCAA Championships in 2003, the first Wildcat to qualify.
K-State's team and individual scoring records have come under Knight's watch. The top 18-hole and 54-hole team scores were set by the 2002-2003 team in the Edwin Watts Intercollegiate at Oak Point G.C. in Kiawah, S.C. That team shot a 286 on day two to the set the 18-hole record and totaled three rounds of 874, the 54-hole record. At the same tournament, Boucher claimed the top individual scores for a Wildcat in school history. She posted a 64 on day two of the tournament for the best 18-hole score. She shot a three-round total of 204 to take home first-place honors and set the Wildcat individual 54-hole best.
Knight has also been heavily involved with the National Golf Coaches Association of America. She was elected to serve on the Awards Committee in 2006, while she serves as the Division I Director for the National Golf Coaches Association. Additionally, she was also asked to serve on the NCAA Central Region selection committee from 2004-06.