When it comes to a great fit, this one works like a handmade Italian suit.
Maryville College athletics director Kandis Schram confirmed Tuesday that Heritage High School teacher Ron Waters has been hired to launch and coach new men’s and women’s golf teams at Maryville.
“I announced (Monday) that we’re moving forward with golf,” Schram said. “Our plans are to go with a club team this year, but we decided to go ahead and hire him so he can start recruiting.”
Getting an early start with golf at the school wouldn’t have been possible were it not Waters assuming the post, she said. Waters coached the sport for 10 years at Heritage in the late 1980s and early ’90s, producing two district boys and two region girls champions. A boys basketball coach at the school for 16 years as well, Waters is a five-time Blount County men’s amateur golf champion, claiming his last crown in 2003.
He knows the area; he knows the players, Schram said.
“He knows how to start a program,” she said. “It’s one thing to coach a program. It’s another to know how to start one. He’s just a natural for us.”
The introduction of golf at Maryville and the hiring of Waters is Schram’s first move since being named athletics director in May. While the sport was once offered at the school, it’s believed Waters is the first golf coach at Maryville.
Eligible for retirement from the Blount County school system in December, Waters said the move to the college couldn’t have come at a better time.
“I thought it was an opportunity to do something new,” he said. “I think it’s an opportunity to do something successful. It’s something Maryville College has needed for a while.”
Waters said he plans to finish the year at Heritage as he gets Maryville’s fledgling program up and running. Golf is offered as an elective at Maryville and many students there played the sport in high school. It’s finding those who did and getting the club program off the ground where he’ll first concentrate his time, Waters said. He’ll then turn his attention to scheduling and recruiting, with an emphasis on area players, taking the sport varsity, hopefully, by spring 2009.
“I know there have been some kids who’ve gone off to school who may have stayed here if Maryville offered (golf),” Waters said. “I really think we can get some pretty good players.”
Familiarity with area courses could help Waters secure practice and competition sites for the teams, Schram said. A fixture on the state amateur circuit, where he’s competed with many of the state’s small-college coaches, Waters will also have a leg up when it comes to scheduling.
“I’m looking forward to getting started and working with the people at Maryville College,” Waters said.