Pugh Goes Pro: OU Golf Standout Sets Next Course

From playing for Petrel pride to playing for prize: Scott Pugh '11

In the world of golf, there are three major levels of play:  junior, amateur, and pro.  Only a select few college athletes who have both the talent and resources go pro—and Scott Pugh ’11 wants to join that club.

A four-time all conference player, Scott is one of three Petrels to become two-time All-Americans in the history of OU’s golf program.  He’s had the lowest scoring average on the team for the last two years, and was a major player in the Petrels’ storied 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship win.  Now, with his NCAA days behind him, he wants to focus on making it in the professional golf arena.  

Scott says he’s wanted to go pro since he was a child—back in the days when he used a make-shift golf club that his grandfather pieced together to fit Scott’s four-year-old frame.

“Although the reasons for pursuing a professional golf career have changed through the different seasons of my life, I have always wanted to play golf on the professional level,” said Scott.  “There was not a [specific] point in time [that] I realized I could play on the professional stage, but after looking back on my time as an amateur and seeing my success, [I knew] that I needed to advance to the next level—the professional level of golf.”

As part of his push to go pro, Scott’s family will host a golf tournament on July 31 to help defray the costs of his first year on tour, estimateed at $25,000.  The tournament, to be held in Carlisle, Penn., is called the Scott Pugh Project.  Scott plans to begin pro play this fall at the Peach State Professional Golf Tour, a major development tour for those at the entry level of pro golf.  There, he hopes to have at least one top-3 finish, and advance to more competitive fields.  His ultimate goal is to swing with the heavy-hitters in the famed PGA Tour, which he hopes to accomplish in one to three years.

In more than 30 years of coaching OU athletics, Coach Jim Owen said he’s had only five players attempt this route, and if anybody can make it, Scott can. Continue reading

Oglethorpe to Join New Athletic Conference

It’s official—Oglethorpe University and seven other schools in the NCAA Division III Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) decided yesterday to leave the conference, effective July 1, 2012, and form a new athletic conference.  While OU and other current SCAC schools will honor their scheduled commitments for next season, the future  unnamed conference will be ready for play at the start of the 2012-2013 season. Jay Gardiner, OU’s athletic director, will serve as interim commissioner of the conference.

News spread like wildfire Tuesday afternoon as President Larry Schall informed Oglethorpe community about the decision. As explained in a press release yesterday, “the new conference is being formed to foster athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the U.S.  The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and costs, while still allowing for a strong conference of like-minded institutions, all of which integrate competitive athletics into the whole of the student’s educational experience.”

“This is an exciting new chapter in Oglethorpe athletics, which promises to benefit both our university and our student athletes,” said Dr. Schall.

This map shows the newly formed conference, of which OU is a part. Source: gopetrels.com

Oglethorpe’s new conference looks very similar to the SCAC sans the five colleges out west:  Southwestern College, Austin College, Colorado College, Trinity, and University of Dallas.  The Stormy Petrels will continue to compete against the rest of our current rivals, and we’ll add one more school into the mix—Rome, Georgia’s Berry College. Read more about it on the OU athletics website www.gopetrels.com.

What do you think of the future conference line-up?

Oglethorpe Athletics Names Aaron Nester to Lead Women’s Basketball

Coach Nester at Wartford

The Oglethorpe University athletics department has searched high and low for a new head coach for the women’s basketball team, and it seems that they’ve found the perfect match. The department announced today that Aaron Nester will lead the Stormy Petrels team, one of the most successful sports programs in OU athletics history. 

Nester comes to Oglethorpe from Wartburg College in Iowa, a Division III school where he spent five years as assistant coach for the Knights.  He finished his career at Wartburg with the team posting a 21-5 overall record this season.

Before coaching at Wartburg, Nester helped lead his alma mater, Division III Rockford College,  to their best four-year stretch in program history.  During Nester’s time as assistant coach, the Rockford Regents won their conference championship three years in a row and went to the NCAA tournament in the 2003, 2005 and 2006 seasons.

This will be Nester’s first head coaching position, and he comes to Atlanta prepared. Throughout his coaching career Nester has handled all facets of leading a successful program, including preparing scouting reports, analyzing game video and assisting with in-game strategy.

Aaron Nester (photo: go-knights.com)

He follows an incredible coaching legacy in coach Ron Satelle, who resigned as head coach of the Oglethorpe Women’s Basketball team after an impressive five years with the Stormy Petrels, who advanced to the NCAA’s Final Four in 2008. The next year, the Stormy Petrels returned to the NCAA tournament, progressing to the tournament’s famed Sweet Sixteen match-up, and claiming the school’s first ever conference championship for any women’s sport along the way.    

“I am extremely excited for the opportunity to join what I think is a great institution in Oglethorpe University,” said Nester. “…I really enjoyed meeting the great people on Oglethorpe’s campus and look forward to guiding this proud program back to the top of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.”

Keep up with all Stormy Petrel Athletics at www.gopetrels.com.

A Petrel Lands with the Atlanta Hawks

Sporting the red & black: Arthur Hamilton '11 was an official member of the press during last week's game against the Detroit Pistons. The Hawks won 104-96. Photo: Rachael Alston, GSU '11

Last week’s Atlanta Hawks game against the Detroit Pistons was especially exciting for Oglethorpe senior Arthur Hamilton. Though an admitted Hawks fan, Hamilton was actually there covering the game on assignment.  He was chosen by the Hawks to experience the NBA game as a professional journalist—interacting with Hawks staff members, sportswriters and broadcasters along the way. 

Did you know? In 1979, the Atlanta Hawks held open practice in the Oglethorpe University Field House.

“Overall it was a great experience,” said Arthur, a former basketball player himself. “I got to see all of the backstage media guides and production.  My favorite part of the whole day was…during the postgame press conference.  We got to have a 15-20 minute Q&A interview session with [Hawks Coach] Larry Drew.”

The communication and project management major currently interns at Turner Sport’s NBA TV, and hopes to work with them and NCAA.com after graduation. With five sports-related internships under his belt, Arthur felt comfortable working in the Philips Arena press box. 

“It was good to see a new perspective and experience the media questions and backstage production,” said Arthur.  “Everything I learned through my experience on Sunday furthers my desire to [seize] opportunities in my career path.  I hope that the contacts I met and networked with will develop my…career opportunities in the near future.  Sports have always been my passion, so why not do something…that [I’m already] passionate about?”

Oglethorpe’s Steioff Named to National Team-of-the-Week

Oglethorpe University junior forward Andrew Steioff of Duluth, Ga. has been named to the D3hoops.com Men’s Basketball Team-of-the-Week. Steioff is one of only five men’s players nationally selected for the award, bestowed by D3hoops.com, the premiere national news source for Division III men’s and women’s basketball.

Steioff had a perfect weekend to help guide Oglethorpe to back-to-back wins over Millsaps and Hendrix. In the January 28 game, he connected on all ten of his field goal attempts to finish with a team-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and three blocks. He picked up where he left off on Sunday, making all seven of his attempts from the field to finish with 16 points, three rebounds, three blocks and one assist. For the weekend Steioff was 17 of 17 from the field while averaging 18 points per game, four rebounds per game, three blocks per game and two assists per game. He can challenge the NCAA record of 24 consecutive made field goals over the course of multiple games when the Petrels face Rhodes College on Friday, February4.

At 8-3 in league play, Oglethorpe is currently tied for second place in the SCAC East standings amongst teams who can qualify for a postseason berth. The Petrels are back in action for their final two home games of the season this weekend with Rhodes College at 8:00 p.m. (Homecoming) on Friday, February 4, and Birmingham-Southern (16-1 overall record) at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 6.

Congratulations, Andrew!