Lila Frommelt: Legacy of Character
Lila Frommelt moved to Sioux City in 1952 to teach Physical Education at Briar Cliff and in the Catholic School system. During this time, Briar Cliff did not have any college sports.
In 1972, Frommelt became Briar Cliff’s Head Coach of Women’s Golf. She was instrumental in the start of women’s golf at Briar Cliff and helped other area schools begin their own women’s golf programs.
Many people were impressed with Frommelt’s coaching style. Unlike many golf coaches who either golfed or sat in the clubhouse, Frommelt was out watching and cheering on her team.
Frommelt pushed women’s collegiate golf forward by helping coordinate the first Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) Division III National Golf Championship, the first Sprint-National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Women’s Golf Invitational Tournament, and the first Sprint-NAIA Women’s Golf National Championship, all held in Sioux City. She also organized and ran the Briar Cliff Invitational (now the Lila Frommelt Golf Classic), which is often referred to as the longest-running small college invitational in the country.
After the inception of the Women’s Golf National Championship in 1994, Frommelt lead Briar Cliff to every national championship through her final season as the Charger’s head coach.
At the 1998 NAIA Women’s National Golf Championship, Frommelt became the first coach inducted into the NAIA Women’s Golf Hall of Fame.
Following a sixth-consecutive trip to nationals by her team, Frommelt retired in the spring of 1999, she was given the Presidential Leadership Award for her lifetime of service to the college.
In 2000, she was inducted into the Briar Cliff University Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 2001 she was awarded the Alumni Appreciation Award.
Under Frommelt’s career, Briar Cliff Women’s Golf rose to national prominence. Lady Charger’s Golf received written praise as well as national ratings that reflected these accolades. From 1977 to 1990, the Chargers won nine District 15 Championships, one AIAW Region 6 Championship, and thirteen straight Io-Kota Conference Championships.
Outside of golf, Frommelt spent her time volunteering throughout the Siouxland community. Most of her volunteering was dedicated to the education of children with disabilities.
Lila Frommelt passed away on September 28, 2003, leaving a legacy of character, integrity, and strength at Briar Cliff.