WJTV News Channel 12 - Auburn's Golf director Danielle Downey dies in car accident

Auburn's Golf director Danielle Downey dies in car accident

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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn University's Director of Golf Operations Danielle Downey died in a car accident on Lee Road 57 Thursday night, university officials confirm.

Downey, 33, was involved in a single vehicle crash around 10p. Thursday, according to Lee County law enforcement officials. Downey was traveling north when she lost control of her vehicle, left the roadway and overturned several times. Downey was rushed to the East Alabama Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:58 p.m., according to Lee County Coroner Bill Harris.

At the time of the crash, Downey was not wearing a seat belt, according to Alabama State Troopers Sergeant Steve Jarrett. The state's preliminary investigation indicates weather was not a factor.

Downey was the Director of Operations for Auburn University Golf and former Auburn University and professional LPGA golfer.

“I’m absolutely devastated,” Auburn head women’s golf coach Kim Evans said in an Auburn University news release. “Danielle meant so much to me, the girls and this program. Not only did she give much of her life to Auburn as a student-athlete and as a mentor to these young women, but she was so instrumental to this team during some tough times over the past year. Danielle was like a daughter to me.”

Downey played at Auburn from 1999-2003, earning All-America honors in 2000, 2002 and 2003. She was All-SEC all four years, earning first-team honors three times, and was the 2000 SEC Tournament champion. She also led Auburn to SEC team championships in 2000 and 2003.

Following her Auburn career, she went on to play on the LPGA and Futures Tours. During her time on the Futures Tour, she notched seven top-10 finishes and one tournament victory, taking top honors at the 2004 Lima Memorial Hospital Futures Golf Classic. On the LPGA Tour, Downey finished in the money at 15 tournaments, including a career best tie for fourth at the 2008 Bell Micro LPGA Classic. Downey finished out her professional career as a caddy on the LPGA Tour, caddying for Sarah Kemp and Laura Diaz.

During the 2012-13 season, Downey stepped up in place of head coach Kim Evans, who had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, therefore missing the postseason. Downey guided the team through NCAA Regionals, earning a place in the NCAA Championship in Athens, Ga. Auburn would go on to take sixth at NCAAs, the team's best finish at the tournament in eight years.

“This is a tragic and devastating loss for Danielle’s family, our student-athletes and staff and the entire Auburn family,” Director of Athletics Jay Jacobs said in a news release. “Danielle cared deeply about people and she was loved by all who knew her. She impacted a lot of lives here as a player and a member of our staff. Our hearts go out to Danielle’s mother and father, her sisters and all who knew and loved her. She will be dearly missed."

The accident remains under investigation by Opelika Post of the Alabama State Troopers and the Lee County Coroner’s Office.

**Auburn University Athletics contributed to this report



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David Hurst, a graduate of the Univ. of Georgia, focuses on how your tax dollars are being spent.
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