Watkins named golf coach at Cumberlands

Published 5:15 pm Friday, July 26, 2019

University of the Cumberlands Athletic Director Chris Kraftick has announced that UC alum and Hall of Famer Aaron Watkins has been named the fifth head men’s and women’s golf coach, announced by the athletic department Tuesday. Watkins replaces Taylor Riggs, who stepped down earlier this month to become the head women’s golf coach at Cleveland State.

“It’s great to have a former player in charge of the program. Aaron had a Hall of Fame career at UC and was not only a tremendous player but a great teammate,” said Kraftick. “He is extremely motivated to not only continue the success our women have seen but get the men back to heights he saw as a player.”

Watkins, a 2007 graduate of James A. Cawood High School, was one of the most decorated golfers in UC history, finishing his career as a three-time NAIA All-American as well as a three-time Ping/GCAA All-American. During his senior season, Watkins garnered Mid-South Conference Player of the Year honors and was a three-time MSC All-Conference selection. Watkins finished his UC career playing in 83 rounds posting a 73.56 scoring average with eight wins, six runner-up finishes and 20 top-five finishes.

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“I’m excited to be back. I very much enjoyed my time here as a student-athlete. I was a part of some very good teams at UC and I know what it takes to compete at the highest level in the NAIA. I look forward to getting to know our players and begin what should be an exciting season,” said Watkins.

After graduation, Watkins played professional golf for two years before returning to UC as a Graduate Assistant for the 2015-2016 season. During that season, the Patriots Women’s Golf team posted a fourth-place finish at the NAIA National Championship, their highest in school history, while the men’s team placed ninth.

Watkins has a master’s in business administration and a master’s in Christian studies.

The Patriots women’s team is coming off a fifth-place finish at the NAIA National Championships last season and capturing eight straight MSC tournament and the 10th straight year that they have earned at least a share of the MSC regular-season championship.