UM hires first full-time golf coach

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, July 30, 2009

For the first time in the golf program’s history, the University of Montevallo has hired a full-time head coach, Justin Pratt, for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Previously, Pratt held three positions coaching soccer, at the Birmingham United Soccer Club, Oak Mountain High School and a volunteer assistant coach for UM’s men’s soccer program.

“The jobs are so different that I don’t necessarily think it’s about leaving a specific place,” Pratt said. “It’s more about an opportunity at the college level to be more involved with student-athletes and coach another sport I’m very passionate about.”

His previous positions helped him develop his coaching style and better himself as a coach all-around, but eventually, it’s time to move on, Pratt said.

Pratt played soccer both attending UAB and professionally, and has become an avid golfer in the past six years.

Pratt has high expectations for both teams as they enter their first season in the Peach Belt Conference. He said he wants the teams to make the conference tournaments because those experiences bring out a higher level of competition in the players.

“Generally, I want to provide the players with a great student-athlete experience and help them achieve individual and team goals,” Pratt said. “They deserve to be taken care of and given the same opportunities as athletes from other sports.”

The most helpful thing he’s done so far has been contacting golf coaches from successful Division I schools to ask how they run their programs and structure practices. But, he said, everyone handles things differently, so a coach needs to discover what works best for the athletes in a specific program.

“Most importantly, we need to establish where the program is headed and have our goals and expectations set at a certain level,” Pratt said.