CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – After 10 years as Rossview High’s head softball coach, Phil Burkhart felt it was time to take a step back from the coaching ranks when he resigned his post May 26.
It only took seven weeks for Burkhart to find a new coaching opportunity as the longtime Rossview educator accepted the position as Rossview’s head girls golf coach, taking over for Michael Brice who moved to Texas at the end of the spring.
“It didn’t take long, did it,” Burkhart said, laughing. “I knew I wanted to stay involved with Rossview in some capacity on the athletic side after I retired but I wasn’t necessarily looking to coach. But Mr. (Johnny) Miller said he wanted someone who was a Rossview guy and someone who was organized and thorough.”
After Brice’s departure, Burkhart said he approached Miller — Rossview’s athletics director — about the possibility of taking over the girls golf program.
“I told him I’d be available for it if he needed someone,” Burkhart said. “Then I left him alone for a while and after that he called me and wanted to set up an interview. Then they offered me the position the first day of golf practice about a week and a half ago.”
Burkhart stepped down from softball because of its the time required to coach the sport and the grueling season in the spring of playing more than 30 games in the span of three months. High school golf doesn’t have that same quality as most golfers have their own swing coaches and the season is over by the end of September. Those were factors in Burkhart trying his hand at a new coaching duty.
“I’ve never been a golf coach before but I’ve been around golf my whole life and I’ve played it and I’ve leaned on advice from Mr. Miller and (Rossview boys coach) Jason Greene,” Burkhart said. “It’s also a short season and that allows me to spend some time with my son.”
Burkhart’s son is a senior basketball player and golfer at Clarksville Christian School. Burkhart’s desire to watch his son compete as a senior was a major factor in both resigning as the softball coach and ultimately making the decision that golf shouldn’t impede his wish.
“Clarksville Christian plays their golf season in the spring,” Burkhart said. “And high school golf will be over in Montgomery County by the end of September so it won’t interfere with basketball as well. So I can do this and still get a chance to watch my son play and really enjoy that aspect.”
Burkhart also walks into a near perfect situation with the Lady Hawks golf team. Rossview returns all three of last year’s Class AAA state runner-up team, including seniors Reagan Greene and one of the state’s top female golfers in Hanley Long. Sophomore Caroline Caudill also competed in last year’s state as the Lady Hawks finished second to Science Hill. But this year Caudill’s sister Catherine will join the team as a freshman as well as a pair of juniors in Monica Pan and Abby Kellar.
“These girls are so good, they don’t need any coaching from me,” Burkhart said. “My biggest job will be to determine what three players to use on any given day because I have about four girls that could win a state championship as an individual and six girls who could help this team win a state championship as a team.”
George Robinson. Prep writer. 245-0747. firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Facebook and Twitter: @Cville_Sports.