A native of East Tennessee, Ann Baker (Furrow) was the first “Lady” Vol golfer, playing on the men’s team at UT in 1964 and 1965 (25 years before golf was to become a women’s sport at the University). Not only was she the first woman to play a men’s varsity sport at UT, she was also on a full men’s scholarship during her collegiate career. She was also the first recipient of the Robert R. Neyland Academic scholarship bestowed.
In addition to being the first woman golfer at Tennessee, Furrow has been the University’s first lady in many other capacities as well. She was the first woman ever appointed to the UT Board of Trustees and served for 18 years. At the age of 26, she was also the youngest person ever to be selected as a member of the board.
In 1971, Furrow became the first woman to give a commencement speech at the University. Furrow put together an accomplished career as an amateur golfer, winning various tournaments and receiving high national rankings. She was a five-time Tennessee Women’s Amateur Champion, with victories in the event spanning nearly 20 years.
Furrow was victorious in 1961, 1967, 1968, 1978 and 1979. The standout golfer also was the Women’s Southern Amateur Champion in 1978. After winning the Western Junior Golf Association Championships in 1961 and placing second at the USGA National Amateur in 1962, she became the top-ranked junior golfer and the 10th ranked female golfer overall in the United States. Furrow was dominant in the local ranks as well, achieving the title of champion of the Knoxville Area Women’s Golf Association on an incredible 12 occasions. She has been inducted into both the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame and the Blount County Hall of Fame.
Ann Furrow is in her 14th year with the Lady Vol golf team, continuing her tradition of dedicated service to the University. Furrow was a key component in the decision of the women’s athletics department to add golf in 1991 and has drawn on her extensive golf experiences and resources to help develop the women’s golf program at UT. Furrow acted as the CEO and interim head coach until an official head coach was hired in 1992.
Not only has Furrow endowed a full scholarship, she has also worked closely with the Lady Vol development office in raising more than $2 million toward fully endowing the UT women’s golf team. In 2013, UT named a street in Sorority Village in Furrow’s honor. Recognized for her many philanthropic endeavors, Furrow is an active community leader and has held many positions on numerous boards.