Ann Furrow is in her 15th year with the Lady Vol golf team, continuing her tradition of dedicated service to the University of Tennessee. 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. She was instrumental in laying a solid foundation, which UT's first head coach, Linda Franz Cook, utilized when she arrived in January 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.
Additionally, she played a key role in obtaining Mercedes-Benz as the title sponsor for the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championships in Knoxville. She remains an integral part, serving as chairperson of the tournament.
Aside from her coaching, development work and financial contributions to the Lady Vols, Ann Baker (Furrow) was the first "Lady" Vol golfer, playing on the men's team at UT in 1964 and 1965. Not only was she the first woman to play a men's varsity sport at the University of Tennessee, 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. Additionally, Furrow served as vice chair of the board. She also held a position on the executive committee of the board, acted as chair of the academic affairs committee for 10 years. 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 the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame as well as the Blount County Hall of Fame, entering the latter with the initial class.
Furrow has been a community leader as well. She has held positions on numerous boards, including the Covenant Health Board, the Fort Sanders Foundation, the National Board of AnGeL Ministries, the International Board of Joni and Friends, the Spiritual Heritage Knoxville Board and the Spiritual Heritage Nantucket Board. In 1992, she and her husband, Sam, received the Brotherhood Award by the National Conference of Christians and Jews (NCCJ). In 2002, they accepted the "Knoxville Award" in recognition of their years of service to the community. It marked the first time in the history of the honor that a couple had shared the distinction. They were also awarded the 1999 Outstanding Philanthropists by the National Fund Raising Executives.
The Furrows have two grown children, Lee Ann Tolsma and Jay and two grandchildren.