WKU Men’s Golf: Led by senior Sargent, Tops playing for late coach this season
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Last June, the unthinkable happened for the Western Kentucky University Men’s Golf team.
Their longtime head coach, Phillip Hatchett, was hit and killed by a car while out riding his bicycle.
Now, almost a year after that unexpected event, the impact Hatchett left on this program is still being felt by this year’s team.
“They weren’t gonna let something like what happened, happen in vein,” said first-year WKU head coach Chan Metts. “They did decided to play for coach this year. That’s been their motto all year. It’s been a lot of fun to watch.”
The motivation of playing for their late coach has paid major dividends for the 2019 team.
Recently, the team jumped up to 89th in Golfstat Rankings – the highest team ranking WKU has earned in more than a decade.
“Every day we’re working harder and pushing each other because we want to be the best we can be,” redshirt senior Billy Tom Sargent said. “Our number one goal going into this year was always just win conference. Win for coach.”
Metts, as the Tops new coach, says the success of the team boils down to the daily effort each player demonstrates.
“A lot of credit goes to those guys and kind of the work ethic that they’ve kind of had throughout the whole year,” he said. “Definitely starts with the guys on top.”
Guys like Sargent, who’s become a leader on the team, and he’s done so through his actions.
Those actions include the redshirt senior tying the WKU program record by claiming his 5th career tournament win, taking home the trophy most recently at the Mason Rudolph Championship.
“It’s just a testament to just how much hard work he’s put in this season,” said Metts. “It just culminated in a really special tournament.”
“Every time I go and practice I just think about getting better and just doing it for coach [Hatchett],” Sargent added.
Coach Hatchett, Sargent explained, was a father-like figure to every player on the team. And he was also played a vital role in helping Sargent grow as a golfer, and as a person.
“Coach kind of took us all under his wing,” said Sargent. “It wasn’t just all about golf and him coaching us and making us better golfers. He was making us better people.”
Hatchett certainly made his former players both of those things.
For that reason, and so many others, this team will continue to “Play for Coach” not just this year, but for the rest of their careers.