WKU golf dedicates new indoor facility to former head coach Phillip Hatchett, speeches honor his ‘impact’

WKU Director of Athletics Todd Stewart thanks the crowd for their support during the grand opening of the new Philip Hatchett Golf Facility on Friday.

Evan Culbertson

A new indoor golf facility that will be utilized by the WKU men’s and women’s golf teams was dedicated to former WKU men’s golf head coach Phillip Hatchett on Friday evening.

The newly minted Phillip Hatchett Golf Facility, located at 654 Campbell Lane on South Campus, hosted an official opening event that saw WKU athletic director Todd Stewart, women’s golf head coach Adam Gary, men’s golf head coach Chan Metts and two current WKU student-athletes give brief remarks about Hatchett’s life and legacy prior to a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Over 100 supporters and donors were on hand at the facility, and many of them took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a self-guided tour once the dedication ceremony was complete.

Hatchett graduated from WKU in 1985, and he was a four-year member of the men’s golf program. He later served as head coach of the men’s golf team from 2010 until he died in a bicycling accident on June 17, 2018. He was 55 years old.

Stewart said a consistent theme throughout Hatchett’s life was the impact he had on every person who had the good fortune to know him.

“As a player he impacted his teammates,” Stewart said. “As a coach, he impacted his players. But beyond that, he also impacted many young players in our area through the lessons he gave, the instruction he provided and the mentoring he gave them. Impact is a word that I would use for Phillip Hatchett — he impacted everybody he came into contact with.”

The current WKU golf coaches and players who spoke at the event said it had always been Hatchett’s dream to build an indoor facility for the team, and Stewart reiterated that point.

“As our head coach he really had two main goals — one obviously was to take our program to places it had not been by succeeding on the course and off,” Stewart said. “His other goal was a vision to have a facility that our men and women’s programs could call their own.”

Senior Mary Joiner, the current women’s team captain, held back tears as she spoke about the influence Hatchett had on her both on and off the course.

“He taught me a lot about golf, but a lot about life as well,” Joiner said.

Current men’s head coach Chan Metts said he believes the new facility will impact the program in three areas — recruiting, development and pride.

“Our guys and girls have a place we get to call home,” Metts said.

The facility first opened in October 2019 before construction was completely finished. The WKU Board of Regents approved naming the facility in honor of Hatchett on Oct. 25.

The 4,168-square foot practice facility was dedicated in Hatchett’s honor to recognize his contributions as a player and coach, as well as his efforts in fundraising for the building.

The facility, which cost $456,000, was funded entirely through donations from program supporters. The building includes multiple hitting bays, a putting green, a club repair station, a conference room and bathrooms that are shared with the intramural complex.

The putting green and club repair station are named after the Kragh family and the Shirley family, respectively, for their donations to the construction of the facility.

Conference USA also renamed its top golf coaching award the Phillip Hatchett Coach of the Year Award in January 2019, and Rolling Hills Golf Course in Russellville unveiled a new monument in his honor in May 2019.

Senior Tom Bevington, the current men’s team captain, said the facility being named after Hatchett is a perfect way for WKU to honor his legacy.

“To know that he will continue to have a huge impact on generations of future Hilltoppers means a lot to me,” Bevington said.

Reporter Evan Culbertson can be reached at [email protected] Follow Evan on Twitter at @evan_culbertson.