NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former UAB team captain Jesse Lawley has been tabbed by Lipscomb athletics director Philip Hutcheson to take over the reins of the department's women's golf program.
"From the start, Jesse impressed us with her attitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity," said Hutcheson. "Having been a collegiate student-athlete, first at Birmingham Southern and then at UAB, she understands, first-hand, the demands that come with working to excel in the classroom and in competition. And as a coach at Berry College who had to balance the responsibilities of coaching, recruiting and managing a team, along with the academic rigor of earning a masters' degree, Jesse has demonstrated the capacity for sustained effort that we are confident will help elevate our program.
"More importantly than all of that, I believe that Jesse's desire is to use this opportunity to develop relationships within our program and to glorify God in the process that will make a difference in the lives of the young women who compete at Lipscomb long after their playing days are done. I thought it was most telling when one of Jesse's references, a person involved in athletics, who has worked closely with her and who is a parent too, said, 'If I had a daughter, I'd love for her to play for Jesse.' That's the kind of person we were looking for and we are looking forward to her being a part of our team."
Lawley joins the Lady Bisons after spending the last two seasons at Berry College where she was named the 2017 Southern Athletic Association Coach of the Year. She also helped guide WGCA All-American Sydney Weaver to SAA Player of the Year honors and a 7th-place finish at the NCAA Division III Women's Championships.
"Jesse comes to us with some valuable experience that we need even though she's at a young age," said Lipscomb director of golf Will Brewer. "She brings two years of experience playing at the Division I level at UAB. I'm excited about her. I think she's going to be a great recruiter and she's going to do what she needs to do to continue the upward trajectory of the program."
With the Vikings, Lawley helped guide her squad to five top-5 finishes last season including team honors at the Birmingham Southern College "Southern Shootout Classic". Berry would climb as high as No. 5 in the national rankings before ending the season ranked 10th nationally.
"I'm honored by the Lipscomb administration including, Dr. Lowry, Philip Hutcheson and coach Will Brewer for having the confidence in me to have the chance to lead the women's golf team," said Lawley. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue building the program here at Lipscomb and thankful for the road that Christ has opened for me to get here."
Lawley is eager to begin the new journey, especially with the advantages that Nashville and Lipscomb have to offer.
"I'm really excited for this opportunity with a great group of girls in a great city. Nashville and Lipscomb are two great places to recruit to. Lipscomb is very similar to Berry in that both schools offer great educations and have recruited student-athletes that are good kids with a lot of talent and great attitudes about playing golf. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to be a NCAA Division I head coach. I'm extremely blessed to have this chance."
Prior to working with the Berry program, Lawley competed for the UAB women's golf team in Conference USA where she graduated magna cum laude, was a CUSA All-Academic selection and a presidential honor roll awardee.
"This could not have happened without the support of my mom and my dad," noted Lawley. They have always supported me both inside and outside of golf along with my sister. A huge thank you also goes out to everyone at Berry for helping me to get to this next step. I also want to thank my extended family that has been extremely supportive and prayed over this opportunity that I would land exactly where God wants me to. I've had so many coaches in golf and other sports that have really taught me that it is more than just a game and you can teach life lessons and impact student-athletes. Each of those coaches have contributed with their coaching and philosophies to make me the coach I am today."
A native of Rainbow City, Alabama, Lawley recently just completed her Masters of Business Administration from Berry in May.
"I told my basketball coach in high school that one day I was going to be a coach and that day has come," said Lawley. "I'm excited to get to Nashville, get going on the recruiting trail and working with the team."
What others are saying about Lawley:
"I am so proud of Jesse. I knew she was going to do great things after she graduated from UAB. To get a division-one head coaching job right away is super. She will do a great job for Lipscomb." – Kim Wilcox, Head Coach – UAB
"I am excited for Jesse as she is starting a new chapter in her coaching career at Lipscomb. I believe it will be a great fit for her and for Lipscomb. She put everything into her job here at Berry and I know she will do the same there and be successful." – Brian Farrer, Head Coach – Berry