Grant Olson and Amy Anderson missed out on an opportunity to be the ultimate power couple at North Dakota State University earlier in this decade.
Grant was a linebacker for the Bison, a two-time all-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-teamer, a two-time All-American and a standout on the first three of what would become five straight Football Championship Subdivision national championship teams.
Amy — who is now Amy Olson, by the way — may have been even better. While she was at NDSU, she won 20 individual golf events, blowing past the previous NCAA record of 17 held by longtime Ladies Professional Golf Association star Julie Inkster.
But while the two stars were aware of each other, they didn’t date while they were in college, although “I had a crush on him in college,” Amy admitted recently.
“I saw something he posted on Facebook and I messaged him,” Amy said. “That sparked a conversation about faith and athletics. It was six months before [we had]our first date — when we were finally in the same location.”
They were married on June 6 — “A Tuesday,” Grant pointed out, the result of the schedules the two of them keep — and now he is the Indiana State University linebackers coach and she is Terre Haute’s first player on the LPGA Tour.
She’s not introduced on the first tee at every tournament as being from Terre Haute, however. The LPGA likes to use hometowns, so she is Amy Olson from Oxbow, N.D.
Yes, the winningest female golfer in NCAA history grew up in North Dakota.
“I definitely had a passion for [golf],” she said, “even though I could only practice six months a year until I got to college and we could practice indoors. I used the enthusiasm built up over the winter to motivate me.”
With their six-month anniversary coming up, the two are aware of stories about the lonely existence of the wives of football coaches. But Amy is every bit as busy as Grant is.
“For a lot of people, our schedules wouldn’t work,” he admits. “But spring break I’m always at one of her golf tournaments, and when she’s off she stays here. … One nice thing about coaching is that I have time off in big chunks, and when I do, I’m on the road watching golf.”
The nice thing about the LPGA Tour, Amy added, is that she’s her own boss.
“Nobody calls the shots for me,” she said. “I decide what tournaments I’m going to play and what I do on my off weeks. The main thing is we’re both committed to making sacrifices and making it work.”
Grant has become quite a fan of the LPGA and noted the good players remind him of his old Bison teams — and, he hopes, future Sycamore teams.
“Championship golfers do the same things that championship football teams do,” he said. “They make no mistakes and they are very prepared.”
Amy said she hadn’t thought much about the LPGA until she graduated from college — for one thing, the Tour was in a questionable financial situation for awhile. But she qualified for the Tour on her first attempt and said, “We have a new commissioner now, and things will only get better in the future.”
She just completed her fourth season on the tour, and can play every event as long as she stays in the top 100 of the money list. “I was 97th this year, so my last three events were pretty significant,” she said, but she also qualified for one of the LPGA major tournaments and had a top-20 finish at the Brickyard in Indianapolis — a tournament Grant had to miss because of football.
When she’s in town, she can often be found at Hulman Links, perhaps sharing tips with Greg Towne and his Indiana State team. And starting in January, when the 2018 LPGA season begins in the Bahamas, her name can be found in bold-faced type in the scores on the Tribune-Star’s agate page.
“We’d like to start a family at some point,” Amy said, “and I don’t want to be on the road [with children]25 weeks a year. So sometime the picture will change — but that’s still a ways down the road.”