March 2015

SAU golf tees off after two-year hiatus

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When the Saint Augustine’s University men’s golf program was eliminated after the 2013 season, golfer Antonio Deese (Jr./Laurinburg, NC) was understandably disappointed.
Now that golf is back for the 2015 season, Deese is anxious to hit the links again for the University.

“It allows those who love the game of golf to get out and enjoy it again,” Deese said.

The Falcons will compete in the CIAA Southern Division Tournament, which begins Monday, March 9 and runs through Tuesday, March 10, 2015, at Larkhaven Golf Course in Charlotte, N.C. The tournament will begin at 10 a.m. both days. The Falcons will participate in a practice round against other CIAA teams on Sunday, March 8, at the same site beginning at 9 a.m.

Monday will be the first tournament for the Falcons since they traveled to Port St. Lucie, Fla., two years ago to play in the PGA National Minority Golf Championships.

Much has changed since the Florida tournament. The Falcons have a new head coach and three of the five players will golf on the collegiate level for the first time. Right now, the goal is to prepare the golfers for the upcoming spring season, according to Head Coach Rob Hinton.

“It is more of a teaching and learning process as far as getting the kids up to speed,” said Hinton, a Garner, N.C., native who was a professional golfer on the Hooter’s Tour for two years and an assistant golf pro for five years. “The kids have a lot of potential. The more we work, the more we practice, the better we will become. It will take a couple of years to get the program back to the championship caliber level that Coach [Lawrence] Coleman had it when he was here.”

The Falcons were one of the nation’s top black college programs under Coleman before he retired in 2009. He led the Falcons to five PGA National Minority Golf Championships, which earned the team a trip to the White House for a visit with The President. Articles about the Falcons were in several publications including Sports Illustrated and USA Today.

In addition to the national titles, the Falcons reeled off six CIAA championships. The golf program, which began in the 1960s by then-Head Coach Earl Curry, became a conference and national contender during the tenure of the legendary Coleman, who is a member of the CIAA and National Black Golf Hall of Fames.

The Falcons were great for a long time under Coleman, but he believes Coach Hinton can take the golf program to an even higher level.

“I’m happy it’s back,” Coleman said. “We are going to be behind because other teams have been recruiting and playing, but eventually, we’ll be back. Recruiting is the key. We have a good coach. He’s a golf professional. He can work on different aspects of the game that [the golfers] are going to need.

“I am glad [SAU Interim President] Dr. [Everett B.] Ward saw fit to bring the program back,” Coleman continued. “I think the program will be better than when I left it. With the help of the alumni, Dr. Ward and the University, we will succeed. I am reaching out to former players to help recruit, because they are the ones who recruit for you.”

For now, Aaron Peskett (Jr./La Crescenta, CA) is thrilled that golf is back at Saint Augustine’s University. Peskett and Deese played on the last golf team before the sport took a one-year hiatus.

“I am looking towards that day,” Peskett said about the upcoming tournament. “It will feel good to be out there. [Golf] is a great way to meet new people.”

Hinton says his five-man squad will be fun to coach in his first year. The golf team members include Henry Capers (Fr./Raeford, NC), Denard Haney (Fr./Winston-Salem, NC) and Justin Miller (Fr./Chicago, IL) in addition to Deese and Peskett.

“I am excited to work with them,” Hinton said. “They are very eager to learn. We will have fun, but they understand that it is going to take a lot of work. They are willing to put in the work, and I am elated about teaching them.”

— Sports Information Office