Extra questions with Phillip Hatchett, men’s golf coach

Brad Stephens

Phillip Hatchett was hired in August as head coach of WKU’s men’s golf program. The hiring came a month after Athletic Director Ross Bjork announced the head coaching positions for men’s and women’s golf would be upgraded from part-time to full-time status. Hatchett, a 1985 WKU graduate, played four years for the Toppers before playing 14 years on the foreign PGA Tour. Hatchett has 24 years of experience as a golf instructor and inherits a team that finished seventh in the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Championships.

Q: What were the appeals of coaching Division I golf?  

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A: I’ve been working with student-athletes at the high school and college levels for a long time. This is an opportunity to work with a very talented group of people and teach them the things I learned over the years of playing professionally and hopefully take this program to a further level than it could have before.

Q: Why was WKU an ideal location?

A: I’ve been a coach in this area a long time. When the WKU job became full-time I saw it as the right place and right time for me to submit my application. The way everybody has treated me since I’ve been here — it was just an ideal fit for me. I couldn’t be happier with the way they’ve transitioned me into this.

Q: What has Bjork and the rest of the athletic department done to support the program?

A: They’ve given me free reign to make the decisions and bounce ideas off of them. They’re supportive and welcoming new ideas and new tactics to help the program succeed. It’s been a seamless transition.

Q: What are the challenges of taking over a program that’s transitioning from part-time status to full-time?

A: The challenges are getting to know the 14 gentlemen on the team and getting to know their personalities. Having regular practice is something they have really enjoyed, and I just look forward to continuing this and seeing this process develop over a little bit of time. (Former coach) Brian Tirpak has been nothing but fantastic to me through this whole thing. He has been an open book, and I couldn’t have done it without his help.

Q: What will it take for WKU to become a consistent Sun Belt competitor?

A: We have a structured work ethic. The way that I have designed the work ethic is based on four principles, which are the four scoring areas of the game. That’s what we spend most of our time on. It’ll just take a little time for these guys to develop, and I look at it to start coming around within a month.

Q: Can you give more information on the Phillip Hatchett Junior Golf Camp?

A: We have two camps in Bowling Green — one in Russellville and one in Franklin at Kenny Perry’s course. We’ve been doing it since 2008 for kids 14 years old and younger. It’s just designed to help continue the junior golf program in this area.