published Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Dobbins to head Southern softball and other sports news

Former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Chattanooga State assistant softball coach Lee Dobbins has been hired as the head coach at Southern University, an NCAA Division I school in Baton Rouge, La. After his third stint at UTC in 2010-11, Dobbins became an assistant at Emory University in Atlanta, which went 76-10 the last two years. Southern is a historically black college and Dobbins will be its first white softball coach, but the program has had only one previous coach since starting in 1997: Nancy Marshall, a former SU basketball standout who had two 31-win seasons and two Southwestern Athletic Conference titles with the softball Lady Jaguars, totaling 359 victories in 17 years, but missed the conference tournament the last two seasons while going 13-75. Dobbins downplayed the historic aspect of his hiring. "I'm looking at the opportunity as what it is -- a chance to coach at a D1 university with a lot of athletic tradition, great people and support for athletics," he told the Times Free Press. "We are going to recruit great student-athletes of all races, colors, ethnicities and cultures. One thing that's prepared me to lead such a diverse undertaking is instructing and coaching in many countries from Europe to recently in South America." Dobbins has been a college head coach at Lander and Texas A&M International and also has served as executive director of the Ace Softball Inc. Fun-In-The-Sun Classic in Bradenton, Fla. "We're excited to have Coach Dobbins join the Jaguar Nation," Dr. William Broussard, Southern's athletic director, said in the hiring release. "With his extensive experience as a Division I assistant and Division II head coach, and his reputation as an excellent teacher and tireless recruiter, we expect great things moving forward from Jaguar softball."

Golf

• Recent Baylor School graduate and Lipscomb signee Mikey Feher carded a 3-under-par 67 Wednesday at the Tennessee Junior Amateur Championship at the Cleveland Country Club. Feher, a Signal Mountain resident who shared low honors Wednesday with Chattanooga's Lake Johnson, is at 1-under 139 after 36 holes and is tied for Knoxville's Jack Smith for second place, one shot back of Kingsport's Cayman Ratliff. "Whoever makes putts will likely win it," Feher said. "I just want to stick to my game plan and not try and force anything." He made five birdies in his first 16 holes Wednesday before giving two strokes back. "It was playing pretty soft," Feher said of the course that suffered almost an hour rain delay. "The greens were pretty slow, but you could make some putts." Scott Stevens of Chattanooga shot 68 and is at 141, three shots ahead of Johnson. McCallie's Gordon Hulgan of Signal Mountain is at 145 after a second-round 73, and Baylor player Nic Vandeventer from Bristol is at 146.

• The older division of the Tennessee Girls Junior Amateur did not get the second round finished Wednesday at Foxland Harbor Golf & Country Club in Gallatin, because of rain. Rachel Heck of Memphis and Riley Cooper of Clarksville lead the 10-14 age group with 160s for 36 holes, with Siarra Stout of Franklin and Addie Baggarly of Jonesborough one back. Signal Mountain's Bethany Burns is seventh at 164; Manchester's Ashley Gilliam is eighth at 165 after a 79.

• Former UTC golfer and Chattanooga Golf and Country Club assistant professional Matthew Brock of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., tied for sixth in the Capital City Golf Association Open held Monday and Tuesday at McCabe Golf Course in Nashville, and Crossville's Greg Wyatt tied for 14th. Nashville amateur Philip Lee won with a 10-under-par 130 by one stroke over Brentwood residents Johan Kok and Brad Stevens. Brock shot 133, Wyatt 136, and Tullahoma's Jared Nelson tied for 20th at 138. In the senior division, Mike Poe of Athens was the amateur runner-up and tied for fifth overall at 138, four shots behind winner Mark Houser of Kingsport, and Niota's Jack Oliver tied for 10th at 142.

General

• While Lee University waits until the 2015-16 school year to compete for championships in the Gulf South Conference and NCAA Division II, the Cleveland school will be able to play for national titles in the National Christian College Athletic Association. Lee officially has been welcomed back into the organization it helped create 45 years ago. In fact, Lee won the first NCCAA national championship with the men's basketball title in 1968, and current athletic director Larry Carpenter was an NCCAA All-American when the then-Vikings won again in 1973 and coached the Flames to the 1994 championship. "We are excited to be part of the NCCAA during our two-year transition into NCAA DII and look forward to all it has to offer," Carpenter said in a Lee release. "Lee University was an exemplary member of the NCAA from 1968 to 2002, and [Lee president] Dr. Paul Conn has always been a supporter of the association," NCCAA executive director Dan Wood said. "We are excited to welcome them back as a full member during their transition from NAIA to NCAA II. ... We also trust that Lee will enjoy the 'new NCCAA' that has focused its mission to use intercollegiate athletics to serve the Great Commission and that a long-term relationship would be in our collective best interest."

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