A GHSA Golf Coach of the Year winner in Georgia’s prep ranks has accepted the position at Georgia Northwestern as the college’s first-ever head coach for NJCAA Intercollegiate Golf.
After leading Chickamauga, Georgia’s Gordon Lee High School to a third-place state finish this past spring, Jared Willerson has made the decision to make the jump to college for the 2013-14 season. The Chickamauga, Georgia-native is expected to coach both Georgia Northwestern and Gordon Lee’s teams in the upcoming season.
Bobcats Men’s Golf is expected to launch in Spring 2014. However, plans are being made for tournaments as early as this fall. “The first year we will operate as a club sport as we prepare for our first official year in the NJCAA in 2014,” said Willerson. “We are already slated for the Chik-Fil-A Invitational in Rome in which Shorter, Berry, and some of the larger colleges across the southeast will be taking part in this fall.”
So, step two after hiring a top cat to run Georgia Northwestern’s links squad is to recruit. “We already have one signing about to take place out of Catoosa County, Georgia,” said Willerson. “I’m looking for student-athletes who want to go to college, first and foremost. Then, I want a golfer. A true student-athlete that will help this program make a name for itself over the next couple of years.”
The 37-year-old Willerson led his prep squad to five consecutive region crowns in 2006, ’07, ’08, ’09, and ’10. In 2008, the Lady Trojans won the state title and Willerson took home Coach of the Year honors for his efforts. As an assistant coach for the high school’s boys’ team, he helped coach that squad to a team state title this past season.
Willerson attended Cleveland State C.C. in Cleveland, Tennessee, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. The newest Bobcat holds a Master’s in Education and a Bachelor’s in Finance and Economics.
“He’s a perfect fit for what we are going to accomplishment building what will be a competitive intercollegiate golf program,” said Georgia Northwestern Athletic Director David Stephenson. “This was the next step in our long-term plan to strengthen the athletic program at Georgia Northwestern. There is a bunch to do in the coming weeks and months to make sure this is a success. However, I have full confidence in Jared’s (Willerson) ability to make this happen.”
Willerson is married to his wife, Roni. They live in Chickamauga, with their four children, Hannah, Grace, Will, and Kate.