Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the director of athletics at Princeton since 2014, has been named the ninth commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association in a unanimous vote of its board of directors, the organization announced Tuesday.
Marcoux Samaan will succeed Mike Whan, who announced in January that he intended to step down in 2021 after serving 11 years as commissioner, the longest tenure of anyone in that position.
Diane Gulyas, chair of the LPGA board of directors and its search committee, called Marcoux Samaan “the right leader to guide the LPGA’s next chapter of growth, impact and achievement.”
“Mollie understands the power of golf to change the lives of girls and women,” Gulyas said. “As a values-centered leader, she’s known for her skills in collaboration, managing through complexity and building a winning team culture.”
In a statement, Marcoux Samaan called the position of commissioner “one of the best jobs in sports today and the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I believe passionately that sports have the power to change the world,” she said. “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.
“My mission and the LPGA’s mission are fully aligned, providing women and girls the opportunity to achieve their dreams through golf.”
Marcoux Samaan will work with the LPGA board of directors and Princeton officials to transition to her new role.
“I’m excited and enthused to hand the baton to Mollie,” said Whan, who will take over this summer as the chief executive officer of the U.S. Golf Association. “With her vision and the strength of the existing LPGA leadership team, the association is poised for incredible growth. I’m fully committed to being Mollie’s biggest cheerleader and supporter as she takes the LPGA to new heights.”
A 1991 graduate of Princeton, Marcoux Samaan competed in two sports, soccer and ice hockey, at the university. She wrote her senior thesis on “The Social Construction of Sports and Gender: A History of Women’s Golf from 1895 to 1955.”
After graduation, she worked at the Lawrenceville (N.J.) School as assistant athletic director, assistant dean of admissions, and coach of girls’ soccer and ice hockey. She also spent 19 years with Chelsea Piers Management, which owns and operates sports complexes in New York and Connecticut, and advanced into senior management positions.