Former golfer named head coach

Vaughn returns to coach Lions

Jason Vaughn made a name for himself as an All-American golfer at UNA from 1999-2003. Now he has taken over as the new head coach of the golf program he was once a part of.

“It feels great to be back home,” Vaughn said. “When I was first asked to be the coach here at UNA, I thought to myself how much I enjoyed being here. I felt like it was a top Division-II school and that I would love the opportunity to come back here and coach.”

Vaughn takes over for former coach Stuart Clark, who said he resigned after his wife accepted a job at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C.

As a player, Vaughn led the Lions golf team to three straight NCAA Division-II National Tournaments. He finished as the individual runner-up at the 2002 tournament. Vaughn was a two-time All-American for the Lions, earning second-team honors in 2002 and third-team in 2003. He was named All-Gulf South Conference in 2002 and was an all-region pick in 2003. He was UNA’s Male Student Athlete of the Year in 2002. DO AN INFOGRAPHIC WITH THIS

Vaughn has two degrees from UNA — a bachelor’s degree in fitness management and a master’s degree in exercise science. He also is a graduate of the PGA Golf Management Program.

Vaughn worked as an assistant golf professional at the Robert Trent Jones of the Shoals courses for four years and then spent two years as the head professional at RTJ. He also owns and directs the Vaughn Golf Academy.

His past experience as a PGA instructor will be extremely beneficial to the golf team, he said.

“If we are at a tournament and one of our guy’s swings were to get off and they started hitting the ball bad, I feel my skill set as an instructor would help me get their swing back on the right track quicker,” he said. “Course management and things that I have learned through the PGA of America I feel can greatly help us. I can teach our guys how to pick apart and play a course in a way that best fits their skill set.”

When asked what he was looking for in new recruits, Vaughn said he is looking for work ethic beyond the green.

“I’m looking for a good golfer with a great work ethic and loves to practice,” he said. “But I feel it is just as important to be a good student. As much as I want them to be a great athlete, I want them to be a great student as well.”

His expectations for the future are extremely high, he said.

“I want to get back to the national tournament,” he said. “I think this year we have a great shot at getting there. Coach Clark did a fantastic job at bringing in some guys and that set us up to compete this season.”

The UNA men’s golf team’s first tournament will be Sept. 16 and 17 at Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

“I’d love to win the tournament, but a top three finish would be great for my first college event as a head coach,” he said. “I really do think we have a chance to win.”