NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With the retirement of women’s golf head coach Buddy Harston, Lipscomb director of athletics Philip Hutcheson announces a restructuring of both the men’s and women’s golf programs. Director of Golf Will Brewer is set to assume leadership of both programs, while Skye Rogers and Ben Pellicani have been hired as associate head coaches of the women’s and men’s teams, respectively.
"One of the oldest sayings around is, 'timing's everything' and that certainly applied in this case,” said Hutcheson. “We had three people that came together for us at the right time and it has led to what I believe is going to be an immediate positive payoff for both our women's and men's teams.
"After we began looking for Coach Harston's replacement, Will and I started talking about the work he'd done with the men's team and also our vision for Lipscomb golf in general. In this region few, if any, can match the combination of talents that Will has as an instructional teacher, a coach, a community builder and as one who can articulate a vision for a program. As we continued the conversation, it became apparent that a lot of what he brought to the men's program in terms of recruiting, program-building and coaching would benefit the women's team as well, so we talked about how we might make that happen."
"From the very start of this conversation, my commitment was that we would only pursue it if it benefited both the women's team and the men's team. We did not want either program to move backwards, or even stay where we are. We would only pursue a plan that would continue to elevate both programs. So if Will was going to take leadership of both teams, then that was going to be the non-negotiable in the equation. And that is where the timing part came in."
“Obviously, I’m sad to see Buddy go but he felt like it was time,” said Brewer. “He did a great job in his time here and will be missed. As we move forward with these new hires, I’m very confident and excited that it is a good move for us at this current time and situation.
“I think there is going to be a lot of high energy and emphasis on improvement. It’s exciting and I think it will be great for us.”
A native of Rochester, Indiana, Rogers played golf collegiately at both Bethel College and Southern Indiana where she excelled on the course and in the classroom.
"Coaching college golf has been my dream for a long time and God has truly blessed me in providing this incredible opportunity,” said Rogers. “I am so thankful for Lipscomb and all the individuals who have helped me grow and begin to achieve my career goals. The women's golf team at Lipscomb is full of talented young women who are passionate about the game and I cannot wait to help these girls continue to succeed and see what the next few years have in store."
She brought home medalist honors in three tournaments as a collegian and earned All-American honors with a 7th-place finish in the NAIA Nationals in 2011. Rogers also was a two-time Great Lakes Valley Conference All-Academic selection.
“Skye came to us last year as a volunteer assistant and proved herself early on,” said Hutcheson. “Upon his retirement, Coach Harston couldn't say enough good things about her. With her father as a teaching pro, her experience as a collegiate golfer, her work as a teacher and her desire to coach at a place that is committed to being highly competitive while reflecting our institution's Christian ideals, we knew she could be a great addition long-term.
“Through her commitment to instruction, training, recruiting and instilling a competitive attitude, I expect that she will help propel our women's program to greater heights. And the opportunity that she has to work with and learn from Coach Brewer will provide her just the assistance she needs to help accelerate that improvement.”
Brewer echoes Hutcheson’s beliefs that Rogers is the right person to help elevate the women’s program.
“I’m very excited about Skye coming aboard,” said Brewer. “Buddy speaks very highly of her. Philip and I have both vetted her with who she is and what she’s about. We’re confident that it’s the right hire for the women’s program and I’m sure they will be excited after we all meet and discuss the future of Lipscomb golf.”
A standout collegiate golfer at Bucknell, Pellicani spent the 2014-15 season as a volunteer assistant with the men’s program as the Bisons reached new heights on the course.
“Amber and I came to Nashville having faith that God had plans for us to grow here,” said Pellicani. “I'm very excited that our progress as a team has led to the opportunity to continue to learn and serve here as a coach under the guidance of Coach Brewer.”
Prior to joining the Lipscomb program he spent three years as the director of the Mike Bender Elite Golf Academy where his students claimed more than 30 junior titles.
"On the men's side, we couldn't be happier to officially add Ben Pellicani. As a teacher and in terms of helping players learn to manage the course and their games, Ben is far beyond his years. Before moving to Nashville, he trained and taught at one of the top golf schools anywhere and he has a great ability to bring out the best in a player.
“More importantly, he is a man of great character who is also a great competitor and in that way, he embodies what we are looking for from our coaches. We believe that officially adding Ben as Associate Head Coach for our men's program will allow him to maximize his effectiveness and impact and, like Skye, we think that Ben and Coach Brewer will be able to work together in a way that will fast-track our men's team to national competitiveness.”
Brewer offered his high praise for Pellicani, who he believes will lead his own program soon.
“Ben has done an outstanding job with us as a volunteer assistant and has really helped us with his experience teaching young men,” said Brewer. “Two are better than one and he’s very qualified. I hope we can keep him a few years. He desires to be a collegiate head coach and I think he will make an excellent head coach at the appointed time.”