The heart of Tennessee Wesleyan golf coach Mike Poe’s recruiting area encompasses the Knoxville and Chattanooga areas.
Poe has signed three golfers from McMinn County and another from Soddy-Daisy beginning next fall.
The Cherokees’ Hunter Hensley, Tyler Reynolds and Ryne Thompson plus Zach Hester of Soddy-Daisy could be the core of Poe’s golf team in Athens for years to come.
“Tennessee is just an outstanding state to recruit golfers in,” said Poe, who also is the TWC men’s basketball coach. “It’s not a situation where you have to go far away. If I can recruit from Knoxville to Chattanooga, we’ll be pretty decent most of the time.”
The Bulldogs reached the NAIA national tournament, along with Lee University, this past spring and in 2008 under Poe. He’d like this class to go again.
“They’re a group of kids that have been together a long time, and we’re fortunate that they like the school and want to play close to home,” Poe said. “I think their upside is pretty good.”
The McMinn County trio play out of Springbrook Country Club in Niota, which is TWC’s home course and where Poe is a member. He’s been watching Hensley, Reynolds and Thompson since they were in middle school.
“It wasn’t a group decision, but we all liked the coach, the team, the atmosphere, and individually each decided that’s where we wanted to play in college,” Reynolds said. “We’ve already played six years together, and we’ll go for another four.”
Hester has been competing against the Cherokees for years in high school and other area tournaments.
“Knowing them was a huge factor because I’m going up there with people I like, and that was very important to me,” Hester said. “It’s fun knowing that the recruiting is finally over.”
Contact David Uchiyama at duchiyama@ timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...