Golf's Mickey Barker: Where Are They Now?
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Golf's Mickey Barker: Where Are They Now?

Mickey Barker was a top golfer at Lipscomb University winning six tournaments and competing in the NAIA National Championship two years. He has remained close to the game. Since November of 2014 he has been the administrator for golf for the City of Memphis, Tennessee. He also is still a PGA pro. He and his wife, Michele, have two teen-age children. Work and family keep him busy but he also is active in work with his church serving as an elder for the Great Oaks Church of Christ.

What years did you play at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?

"I played golf at Lipscomb from 1986-1990. Dr. Ralph Samples was my coach."

Why did you decide to attend Lipscomb?

"I am from Paris, Tennessee. We were at a college night talking with representatives from Lipscomb. They were talking about all the places the golf team traveled to play. They had gone to Hawaii and some other exotic locations. I thought that sounds good. I am interested.

"Then I met Coach Samples and talked with him. It seemed like the perfect fit. It was the perfect place to play."

What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?

"I guess it would be making two different trips to the national championship and finishing 16th my junior year in Bay Valley, Michigan. That was a pretty big highlight. That was probably the best part of being there the four years.

"I had several different conference wins and those were good. But competing with those guys on the national level was a lot of fun."

Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?

"Coach Samples. He didn't know a whole lot about the golf swing. He always told us that if he beat one of us we were off of the team.

"He had a Ph.D. in psychology. He was a psychology professor. And in that area he helped us a lot. Being able to stay focused on what we were doing, playing our own game and trying not to put so much pressure on ourselves helped more than anything.

"When you play golf in college the fall season is good. You get good weather. The courses are in great shape, but the fall is not the main season. In the spring we have to start so early you get terrible weather. The golf courses aren't in such great shape because you are coming out of winter.

"We would complain when it was windy and it was raining. We would play in rain, sleet and snow. Coach Samples told us we have to make our own weather and go out there and play. We always kidded each other about that.

"He helped me as much as anybody. I have heard every story that can be told. I love listening to Coach Samples."

What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?

"Following the Lipscomb men's basketball team. Hutch (Philip Hutcheson) and Darren Henrie came in the same time. We lived on the same floor with team and that was lot of fun to be around them. 

"Following the basketball team for those four years and having them ranked No.1 and watching them winning all those big games was as much fun as anything we did while we were there. It was a blast.

"Loren Personette. a great golfer at Lipscomb, graduated a year after I came in. We got to be good friends. All winter long we went to the basketball games both home and away. Most of the games were a lot closer than they are now like Trevecaa, Belmont and Lambuth. That was a lot of fun."

What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb? 

"The way Coach Samples treated people. He always greeted people with a smile. He always interacted with people and would help any way that he could. If I take anything from my time at Lipscomb it would be to treat other people the way he treated them.

"When you are a student at Lipscomb and you have the curfews and the dress codes and things like that you feel that it hindered you or it was a burden to you. Now, being the father of a 17-year-old and a 13-year-old and being an elder in my congregation in Memphis you see those rules were a good thing and a way to direct your life.

"All students don't always make the right choices. Looking back those rules were good things that helped us."

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

"Don Meyer. A couple of classes I had with him were unbelievable. The passion that he had for coaching basketball and for helping people with their lives was unbelievable. To be able to listen to him for an hour or two for two or three times a week was fantastic.

"I remember having coaching techniques of basketball with him. Several of the redshirt freshmen basketball players were in there. Coach Meyer would bring in game film and he would go through it. By the time he left class he would be red-faced and sweating. It was one of the best classes I had. It was a lot of fun."

Where do you live now?

"We live in Oakland, Tennessee."

Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?

"I work for the City of Memphis. I am the administrator of golf for the City of Memphis. We have eight municipal golf courses and I oversee those courses.

"I have been a golf professional for 25 years now. The last 14 I was head golf professional at one of the city courses here, the Links of Galloway.

"I have been the administrator of golf since November. I am still a PGA member. I have been a PGA member since 1994."

Tell us about your family.

"My wife, Michele (Hadley), graduated from Lipscomb in 1993. We have a son, Ryan, who is 17. We have a daughter, Emma, who is 13.

 "I didn't know Michele when we were at Lipscomb. After I graduated from Lipscomb I went to work for Temple Hills Golf Course in Franklin, Tennessee. After Michele graduated she moved back home to Ohio to teach for a year. She moved back to Nashville and needed some money while she was finding a teaching job and worked as a cart girl. That is where we met."

My email address is mickey.barker@memphisTN.gov.