For more than two decades, the Florida Southern women’s golf team has been led by Robbie Davis, a member of the school’s hall of fame, who as of 2019, has guided the Moccasins to four NCAA Division II National Titles, five runner-up finishes, and three third-place showings in his first 23 seasons. Since being named head coach in the spring of 1997, Davis has taken the Mocs to NCAA postseason play 19 times, and 13 have resulted in a trip to the National Finals. Only two other D-II schools have more appearances at the finals than Florida Southern, and only one individual coach has more.
All four of Florida Southern’s national championships have come under Davis, as have all five of the program’s runner-up finishes. Starting in 1997-98, his first full season as head coach, the Moccasins began a streak of seven straight first- or second-place finishes, a feat surpassed by only one other women’s golf program at any collegiate level (Methodist College in Division III). Three of the Moccasins’ national championships came during that seven-year span, with FSC bringing home the title in 2000, 2001, and 2002. They added their fourth national championship in 2007, tied for the fifth most for any women’s golf team in any NCAA division.
Davis has also produced five individual national champions, and seven of his golfers have finished as the national runner-up. Shanna Nagy won the title in 1998 (after also winning in 1996 under former coach Lois Webb), before Lisa Cave won medalist honors in 1999 and 2000. Jana Peterkova then gave Davis and Florida Southern five straight individual champions by winning the 2001 and 2002 national tournaments. Only one other school at any NCAA level has been able to produce five straight individual champions with Methodist doing that in Division III from 2005-09.
On two occasions, 2001 and 2002, Davis and the Moccasins had both the first- and second-place golfer at the Division II National Finals, and in 2002, the Mocs claimed the top four positions. That’s something no other program anywhere in the country has ever been able to accomplish since women’s golf was added to the list of NCAA championship events in 1981-82. Florida Southern’s 74-stroke margin of victory that season still stands as the all-time Division II record for the championship tournament.
Even in four of the seasons Florida Southern didn’t make it to the national finals as a team, Davis still had at least one player qualify as an individual. In 1997, when Davis took over in the middle of the year and before regional tournaments were held, three of his players earned individual bids, with Nagy finishing as the national runner-up. In 2006, Lindsey Bergeon also finished as national runner-up after earning an individual bid, as did Heather Burgner in 2008 after she was the South Region runner-up. Amanda Gartrell was an individual qualifier in 2018, and the Moccasins just missed having another in 2014 when Emily Rymer was eliminated in a playoff at the South Region Tournament.
Altogether, Davis has had 12 different golfers finish in the top five of the NCAA National Finals, and the Moccasins had at least one in the top ten every year from 1996-2012. The totals include five NCAA medalists, seven runners-up, and five third-place finishers, and no Division II coach has had more individual champions than Davis.
What the Moccasins have done is even more amazing considering the competition they face in their own conference. Since the NCAA split its college division postseason into separate Division II and Division III tournaments in 2000, a team from the Sunshine State Conference has won the national title all but two of those years, and in 12 of those national tournaments, SSC schools finished 1-2. When the University of Indianapolis ended that championship streak in 2015, the SSC still had the second- and third-place teams at the National Finals.
Even against that type of competition, Davis still finds a way for Florida Southern to regularly come out on top. The Moccasins have won a total of 55 tournaments under Davis, including 11 in the postseason. In 2002 and 2007, the Mocs won all three of those postseason tournaments (SSC, South Region, and National).
The 2007 national championship team may have been the best team Davis has coached. Considering it was preceded by three other national championships, there’s at least room for debate. Nevertheless, the ’06-’07 team finished first or tied for first in eight of the 11 tournaments in which they played, setting a school record for wins in a season. They swept through the postseason, and finished behind only three other Division II schools all year long. It was no surprise then, that four of his players that year were named to the NGCA All-American team.
Altogether, Davis has had 46 All-Americans, with seven players winning that honor at least three times. Of that number, 27 have been First Team selections (, 15 were Second Team and four were honorable mention. He’s had at least one All-American in 21 of his first 23 seasons as head coach, he’s had two or more in 15 seasons, and in 17 of them he’s had at least one of his golfers make the First Team. On four occasions, the Moccasins have had three First Team All-Americans.
Five Moccasin golfers have been named the Division II National Player-of-the-Year with Davis as their coach, most recently Pamela Feggans in 2005. Davis has had two National Freshmen-of-the-Year too, with Silvie Dittertova winning that honor in 2009, and Rachel Bell winning it in 2001.
In addition to winning the NGCA Freshman-of-the-Year award in 2011, Bell was also the NGCA Player-of-the-Year, and the Sunshine State Conference Female Athlete-of-the-Year as well. She’s one of five Lady Mocs named the SSC Golfer-of-the-Year under Davis, with Heather Burgner claiming the award most recently in 2009. No other women’s golf coach has produced as many SSC Players-of-the-Year as Davis.
Davis has also seen two of his golfers listed as Honda Award finalists, an honor given to the top NCAA female athlete in the country. Lisa Cave made that prestigious list in 2000, and Jana Peterkova made it in 2002. The academic honors include four Academic All-Americans, with Marianne Andersson a 2-time first team selection and the 2011 CoSIDA Academic All-American-of-the-Year on the Division II At-Large Team. In 2011, Andersson was also the first Florida Southern student-athlete to be honored as an Elite 89 Award winner, which goes to the player with the highest cumulative GPA at the finals site for each NCAA championship.
Several former Moccasins recruited and coached by Davis have gone on to enjoy professional careers as well. Two of them, Peterkova and 2-time All-American Jackie Barenborg, have qualified for the United States Women’s Open, with Peterkova playing at Pine Needles (NC) in 2007, and Barenborg playing in 2013 at Sebonack Golf Club (NY), and in 2016 at CordeValle Golf Club (CA).
The list of pros also includes 2012 graduate and 3-time All-American M.J. Audette, and 2011 All-American Emily Flanigan, who have played on the LPGA Symetra Tour (formerly known as the Futures Tour). They joined Heather Burgner, a 3-time All-American for the Moccasins from 2006-09, 4-time All-American Lindsey Bergeon, who played at FSC from 2005-08, and another Florida Southern graduate, Kim Goedecke, as other former Moccasins to embark on professional careers after their graduation.
Several former Moccasins have given Florida Southern and coach Davis even more recognition with their golf-related talents since graduating. Burgner (now Heather Wall) is the head women’s golf coach at Nova Southeastern University, led the Sharks to the Sunshine State Conference title in each of her first two years there, and was the 2018 SSC Coach-of-the-Year. Barenborg (now Jackie Stoelting) won the Big Break Florida reality series on Golf Channel in 2014 by defeating 11 other competitors to earn an LPGA exemption among other prizes. Barenborg was the third Florida Southern women’s golf alum selected to compete on Big Break, joining Kelly Sheehan in 2009, and Bergeon in 2010. Sheehan, who was one of the Mocs’ early All-Americans, earned her PGA Class A membership in 2003, and later became the first female PGA head pro within the Marriott/Ritz-Carlton family. Barenborg (Stoelting) now plays on the LPGA Tour after becoming one of the top players on the Symetra Tour with four wins and 23 top-10 finishes.
In addition to the individual honors and accomplishments by his players, Davis has been named GolfWeek Magazine National Coach-of-the-Year three times (2000, 2001, and 2002), as well as the NGCA National Coach-of-the-Year twice (2002 and 2007). He’s also been selected as the NGCA South Region Coach-of-the-Year three times (2002, 2007 and 2009), and the SSC Coach-of-the-Year seven times. The seven SSC awards are the most for any women’s golf coach since the league adopted the sport in 1998-99, with his most recent honor coming in 2013 after the Moccasins defeated top-ranked Nova Southeastern in a playoff for the conference title. In 2007, Davis won coaching awards at all three levels (conference, regional and national).
The same year Davis won the coaching trifecta, he was also inducted into the Florida Southern Athletic Hall of Fame, joining two of his former players, Shanna Nagy and Lisa Cave. Since then, five other Davis protégés have moved into the hall: Jana Peterkova (2008), Lisa Ball (2009), Rachel Bell (2011), Pamela Feggans (2012), and Lindsey Bergeon (2014). Ball, Cave, Feggans, Nagy and Peterkova are also members of the Sunshine State Conference Hall of Fame, giving Florida Southern more women’s golfers in that hall of fame than any other school, and Nagy was the first SSC women’s golfer elected.
A Lakeland native, Davis is a 1988 graduate of Lakeland High School, located less than a mile from Florida Southern College. He played collegiately at the University of Kentucky where he received his B.A. in Finance in 1993. While at Kentucky, Davis was a two-time Academic All-American as a junior and senior, and a three-time member of the SEC All-Academic Team. He twice won the Kentucky Intercollegiate Golf Championship. He still competes in amateur tournaments through the Florida State Golf Association and again qualified for the Florida State Amateur Championship in 2013. Davis won the event as a collegiate golfer in 1990, and added to his amateur win total in the summer of 2015 by finishing in first place at the 39th Annual Polk County Amateur Championships in Lakeland.
In recognition of his accomplishments as both a player and coach, Davis was selected as a member of the Polk County Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. He became the 10th current or former Florida Southern coach to earn that organization’s most prestigious honor.
Before coming to Florida Southern in February of 1997, Davis served as assistant golf coach at the University of Kentucky for one year before playing three years professionally on the Tommy Armour, Gary Player, Moonlight and Hooters Tours. He’s also served as a golf assistant at Lone Palm Golf Club, the primary home course of the Moccasins.
Robbie and his wife Joy live in Lakeland and have three daughters: Perry, Lucy, and Susie.