Recruited to play golf, he came to Lipscomb in 2011 with an eye on business. He graduated in December 2014 with a wife, a degree in Theology & Ministry, and more than his share of valuable lessons. Taylor Combs sat down this week with LipscombSports.com to speak about what he learned in his time on campus.
What years did you compete for Lipscomb?
I came to Lipscomb to play golf in the fall of 2011, and I graduated one semester early in December of 2014. Coach (Buddy) Harston recruited me and coached my freshman year, and Coach (Will) Brewer came at the beginning of my sophomore year. Both coaches were great, and I enjoyed seeing the growth of a winning culture and a lot of momentum in my time there.
What teammate was most memorable?
Blanton Farmer and I have known each other since I was in 7th grade, when I became a member of our high school golf team. He is two years older than me, and we played together four years in high school in Lexington (Kentucky) and again in college. He was integral in my choice to be a Bison. I was looking at several other schools, including Belmont and Butler, and his influence was an important element in helping me select Lipscomb.
He recently moved back to Nashville, and my wife and I have enjoyed his friendship.
What degree did you earn?
I earned a bachelor’s degree in Theology & Ministry from Lipscomb in 2014. I came to Lipscomb with the idea of majoring in business or a related field, but the Lord was working in my heart and in my very first semester of Bible class as a freshman I loved what I was reading and learning – the entire conversation. I decided to pursue that route, so I officially changed my major at the beginning of my sophomore year.
In those couple of years I was very involved with Young Life – a ministry that reaches out to high school and middle school students. At the time I thought I might really enjoy eventually working with Young Life or an organization similar to it – one that works alongside the church in working to reach people. Throughout college I grew in my love for the local church, and after I graduated, I immediately began classes at Southern Seminary. God then opened the door for me to work with a company that directly serves churches.
Why did you attend Lipscomb?
Blanton Farmer was a positive influence ... and weather also played a role.
I really liked Butler, so my decision came down to this: I could travel three hours north or I could travel three hours south to play golf in college. The move south seemed smarter to me, so I chose Nashville. At that point, I simply had to choose between Lipscomb and Belmont. I’m convinced either would have worked well, but I’m very grateful that God used my circumstances along with the people and the setting at Lipscomb to prepare me for my adult life.
What is your favorite athletic memory at Lipscomb?
My second year at Lipscomb we played in a tournament in Louisiana – in the Baton Rouge area – and several of our teammates had planned to go straight from the tournament to Spring Break in Florida. In the first round we played pretty well, but in the second round we just played terrible. It put us in a place where we were probably 12th out of 15 teams – way below what we were capable of. The last round was played in really tough conditions, but we battled. We fought and worked and played much better, and although we didn’t win, we climbed all the way back up to 4th or 5th place or so. Coach Brewer gathered us together in the parking lot at the end of the day, and I’ll never forget his message to us. He praised us and patted us on the back – he practically broke down while telling us how easily we could have “packed out bags” and been done with the tournament, yet we clawed back into contention.
It would be hard to place a pin on the specific moment a program’s culture shifted, but I’ll tell you that from that moment we began to realize we could really compete with the elite of NCAA golf. The truth is, after that year – my sophomore year – I got to play less and less because the team got better and better. I was cool with that because I got to experience the progress and momentum first-hand, and it was a thrill to be a part of.
Who influenced your athletic career at Lipscomb?
Coach Brewer was probably my greatest influence, not only on the golf course but in life in general. He’s a guy with a lot of integrity, and he set a great example for us in what it meant to work hard. As Christians, we are compelled to do things with excellence – as individuals, as a university, and as a golf team. Coach expected and demanded that on the golf course, but he also modeled it in his integrity, the way he engaged with people, and the way he led our program. Plus, he’s a very good golf coach.
What’s your favorite non-athletic memory from your time here?
That one’s easy – meeting my wife. It may be a cheesy answer, but she was a voice major at Belmont who transferred to Lipscomb and ended up studying worship ministry. The same time she was switching to the worship ministry track, I was gaining interest in Theology & Ministry, so we met in class and started dating right away. We married about two months before graduation, and she has obviously proved to be my favorite memory from Lipscomb – athletic or non-athletic.
What are the most valuable lessons you learned in your time at Lipscomb?
I learned – just as a student in general – to explore until you find something that gets you going in life. The best example I know is my attitude toward reading. In high school, reading completely bored me. I couldn’t imagine sitting down and reading through a book. But once I discovered topics and subjects that inspired me, I couldn’t get my hands on enough books. I think young people should approach college with a completely open mind – eager to look at a wide variety of careers and devotions. We hang out with some high school kids at our church, and we tell them to not go to school with their minds made up about what they’re going to major in, what they’re going to do, etc., because a) it probably won’t happen the way they envision it, and b) if they set their minds on one thing only, they might miss out on an opportunity that really gets them going.
I also learned the value of serving. I think that’s an emphasis at Lipscomb – leadership is serving. Excel at life by the measures that matter: service. You may not get recognized for that, and you might not get your name on a plaque. But wherever you find yourself – on an athletic team, in a work group at your job, even in your family – keep your eyes open to opportunities to serve others.
And finally, the lesson that Lipscomb golf taught me best: work hard but have fun. I didn’t do a good job of that in school, and I frequently let the way I was playing steal the joy from a very special season of life. If I could go back, I would tell myself to work really hard, but if I’m not having fun, what’s the point? I think Coach Brewer and the current group of players model that really well.
Who were your favorite professors & why?
Most of my favorites were in the department I spent most of my time. John Mark Hicks is one – he is a theology teacher who 100% lives the theology he is teaching. In particular, he is a man who has suffered heartbreak that would cripple most of us, and he taught a class on two biblical books that deal with those issues – Job and Ecclesiastes. To hear his perspective on those stories was life-changing.
Mike Williams is another favorite, a man who is an exemplary scholar. He was fun because he’s a teacher with whom I frequently disagreed on theological topics, but he was very open to conversation and gracious in conflict.
What do you do now?
I’m a book publisher at B&H Publishing Group, which is an imprint of LifeWay Christian Resources. My jobs are to acquire new authors and books, and to oversee the editorial process for those books. I become the middle man between the author and LifeWay, and I work to make the content the best it can be.
Tell us about your family:
My parents and sister still live in Lexington. My dad founded an IT company 25 years ago, and he and my mom worked there. He sold it recently and mom retired, but he is still working with the company. My sister is a graduate student in social work at Asbury University. She has a huge heart for people who are suffering, she is extremely empathetic and loving, and she wants to serve.
I’m married to Lindsay Trucksis Combs, and we will celebrate our fourth anniversary in October. She’s a musician here in Nashville (Lindsay Latimer).
- Favorite food: Mexican
- Favorite TV show or movie: The Shawshank Redemption
- Favorite scripture: The Book of Romans
- Favorite sports team: Lipscomb golf and Kentucky basketball and football
- Pet peeve: Bad grammar
- Favorite season: Fall
- Pick one – salad or dessert: Dessert
- Early morning or late night person? Aspiring early morning person
You can reach Taylor by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org