Oglethorpe Men’s Golf Captures Conference Championship

Conference Champions! Coach Jim Owen (right) and the Oglethorpe Men's Golf team.

The Oglethorpe men’s golf team captured its 11th conference championship in 16 years Sunday, and its first Southern Athletic Association (SAA) championship, as it outdistanced second-place Berry by a whopping 23 strokes at the SAA Championship at Limestone Springs in Oneonta, Ala.

The event was comprised of only two rounds, as it was called early in the third round due to rain and the scores reverted to where they were at the end of the second, making the Petrels’ final margin of victory all the more incredible.

Freshman Braden Baer won the individual medal for the event and was named SAA Player of the Year, as well as SAA Freshman of the Year.

The Petrels placed an unprecedented six players on the All-SAA First Team. Freshman Braden Baer (three-under 141) won the individual medal for the event and was named SAA Player of the Year, as well as SAA Freshman of the Year. Oglethorpe held the first four positions in the final individual standings, a feat that Oglethorpe hasn’t accomplished since Robert Miller, Chris Summers, Trent Erb and Corey Garner did it at the 2003 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship.

Following Baer’s three-under par was runner-up, junior Anthony Amodeo (one-under 143), and in third place came junior Hayden Jones (two-over 146). Rounding out the Petrels’ top four was sophomore Will Morrow, who fired a three-over 147 for a fourth-place tie. Finishing eighth in the tournament with a five-over 149 came senior Eric Quinn, and rounding out the Oglethorpe six came sophomore Anthony Maccaglia, firing an 11-over 155, which was good for 17th place.

The team led by 11 strokes after the first round, shooting an opening-round 290. They were the only team to break 300 on the day, ahead of Berry (301), Rhodes (307), Centre (308), and Millsaps (313).

Morrow led the Petrels on the day, finishing in second place with a first-round 71, just three strokes out of the individual lead. Jones finished Day 1 in a tie for third place, four strokes back of the lead. Baer was in fifth place by himself, five strokes back, and Quinn and Amodeo were tied for sixth, six strokes back.

Maccaglia had a bit of a disappointing day, shooting a first-round 80 and finishing the round tied for 25th, but the rest of the squad picked him up, pushing the Petrels out to the 11-stroke lead.

Though the SAA does not have an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship this season, the Petrels, who currently sit at No. 1 in multiple rankings, are more-or-less assured of securing one of the four Pool B bids available to teams who don’t have the possibility of playing for an automatic qualifying spot. The field will be announced on May 6 at 2 p.m., and the event will take place May 13-16 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. The Petrels will be trying for their third national championship in five years, and their second in a row.

Oglethorpe’s Jim Owen Named Nation’s Best D-III Golf Coach

Coach Owen instructs Anthony Maccaglia.

Yesterday, the Golf Coaches Association of America, together with Eaton Corporation, announced the six outstanding collegiate golf coaches receiving this year’s Dave Williams Award, presented by Eaton Golf Pride to recognize the national coaches of the year. Oglethorpe University head men’s golf coach Jim Owen earned the honor among all D-III coaches.

Owen guided the Stormy Petrels through a magical 2011-12 season that culminated with the program winning their second NCAA Championship in just four years. After a fall season that featured three top-five finishes, Owen settled on a spring lineup of a freshman (Anthony Maccaglia), two sophomores (Hayden Jones and Anthony Amodeo), a junior (Eric Quinn) and a lone senior (Matt Rebitch). That quintet proved nearly unbeatable, winning three of six spring events while narrowly settling for second place in the other three.

Coach Owen with Hayden Jones.

The Petrels won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) for the 10th time in April when they led wire-to-wire en route to an easy 21-stroke victory at the Tunica National Resorts in Mississippi. Less than a month later, Owen’s squad duplicated the feat, this time on the biggest stage of them all at the NCAA Championships, on their way to a convincing 20-stroke win at the Mission Inn Resort in Florida.

In addition to the 2012 NGCAA Coach of the Year (COTY) honor, Owen has been named SCAC Men’s Golf COTY 12 times! He’ll be looking to guide his program to their 13th straight trip to the NCAAs when the 2012-13 season gets underway this fall as the Petrels begin play in the new Southern Athletic Association.

Congratulations, Coach Owen!

Oglethorpe Names New Athletics Director

Oglethorpe University has chosen Rebecca “Becky” Hall as director of athletics. Hall is currently the assistant athletics director and senior woman administrator at Wittenberg University and will become Oglethorpe’s fourth director of athletics since reassigning to NCAA Division III in 1990.

OU's newest Petrel - Rebecca Hall

Becky Hall will replace Jay Gardinerwho has served as director since 2004. Gardiner is now the inaugural commissioner of the new Southern Athletic Association, Oglethorpe’s athletic association beginning in the 2012-2013 season.

“After a national search that yielded exceptional candidates, the committee identified the best match for Oglethorpe,” said Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students Michelle Hall. “Becky is truly a great fit, full of energy, ideas and experience that will guide our growing athletic program.”

A 1998 graduate of Urbana University where she was a star softball player, Hall was immediately hired by Wittenberg University as an assistant coach and rapidly made an impact on Tiger athletics. She was promoted to head softball coach in 1999 and, just one season later in 2000, led Wittenberg to their first North Coast Athletic Conference Championship. That season concluded with the Tigers making their first trip to the NCAA Championships and securing the school’s first NCAA Tournament softball victory.

While remaining as head softball coach, Hall took on progressive responsibilities. She served as Wittenberg’s director of intramurals and club sports from 2003-2007 before being promoted to assistant director of athletics and senior woman administrator in July of 2007. In that span, Hall has continued to lead a successful softball program and overseen a 3.5 million dollar budget while also fundraising over $58,000 of supplemental income to the department.

In recent years, Oglethorpe has experienced a surge in growth, having added two new dormitories to the campus with plans to break ground on a state-of-the-art new campus center soon.

“Becky’s addition to our leadership team is a strategic move to continue to elevate our athletic programs, build a winning tradition and develop scholar-athletes who are successful on and off the playing fields,” said Oglethorpe University President Lawrence M. Schall.

In addition to her fundraising success, Hall directly supervised all phases of 10 varsity sports teams while at Wittenberg. An advocate for several non-profit organizations, Hall engaged the Wittenberg student-athletes in a variety of community service efforts including events for Strike Out Cancer and Toys for Tots. Continue reading

Oglethorpe’s New Athletic Conference to be Named Southern Athletic Association

With the new academic year, starting in less than a week, comes the announcement of the name of Oglethorpe’s new athletic conference that will launch in 2012-13: the Southern Athletic Association (SAA). 

The new conference is truly southern, in that all eight member schools represent six southern states, its territory reaching from Georgia and Alabama over to colleges in Kentucky and Arkansas.  The geographic focus will result in reduced travel time and fewer missed classes, 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.

In a statement released today, the SAA announced its commitment to “fostering athletic competition and cooperation among academically selective, residential liberal arts colleges located in the southeastern region of the United States.” 

The SAA member schools are Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama, Centre College in Kentucky, Hendrix College in Arkansas, Millsaps College in Mississippi, Oglethorpe University and Berry College in Georgia, and Rhodes College and Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee.

Jay Gardiner, athletics director at Oglethorpe, will serve as the Southern Athletic Association interim commissioner. Oglethorpe president Lawrence Schall will serve as convener of the conference’s Presidential Council during the 2011-12 academic year while Brian Chafin, athletics director at Centre, will serve as convener of the Athletics Director Council in 2011-12.