County golf teams to honor Wells

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
From left MCHS assistant principal Brent Adcox, MCHS golf team members Hunter Sweeney, Derrick McKnight, Wilson Spivey, Wilson Limbaugh, Brooks Leftwich, Patrick Kennedy, Will Wallace, Miller Sale, Carson Hill, Gary Wells with Cup, Austin Blade, MCHS golf coach Brent Johns, MCHS Athletic Director Kevin McGehee and MCHS principal Keith Stacey. Photo submitted

Longtime Marshall County High School Golf coach Gary Wells will be honored by the Marshall County, Forrest and Cornersville golf squads this season when they play for the 1st Annual Gary Wells Cup.

MCHS head coach Brent Johns said, "When I first took over for coach Wells I knew I wanted to do something to honor him permanently. After many discussions with Brent Adcox at Cornersville and Becky Cheatham at Forest we all agreed that the Gary Wells Cup and County Championship was the best way to accomplish our goal."

The three-tournament event will begin on Thursday at the Ewell Butler Golf Course on the grounds of the Lewisburg Recreation Center at 4 p.m.

The second match will take place on September 11 at the Saddle Creek Golf Club in Lewisburg and the final leg of the event will see the county duffers tee off at Buford Ellington Golf Course inside Henry Horton State Park on September 18.

"This truly is very much an honor and humbling at the same time," said Wells. "I really appreciate them thinking about me like that."

All three of the matches between the Marshall County teams will be nine-hole events.

The scores will be tallied after the last match and the team with the lowest three-day cumulative score will be declared the county champions and be presented the Gary Wells Cup by coach Wells.

Each match will pit six players from each team against each other and the four best scores will comprise the team score for that day.

Coaches Johns (MCHS), Kevin Wright (Cornersville) and Kyle Stacey (Forrest) will be allowed to change their lineups before each match.

Wells' tenure as MCHS golf coach spanned a 30-year period from 1979 to 2009 as he guided the Tigers to 19 district titles and 16 consecutive district titles, back-to-back TSSAA state championships in 1997 and 1998, and a runner-up finish in 1999.

"I remember coming to MCHS in 1979, I was always a golfer and when I found out they didn't have a coach I wanted to make it a permanent thing," said Wells. "So I called around to some of the other schools in the area and we became a member of the district that year."

At least one Marshall County High School golfer competed in the state tournament for 11 consecutive seasons from 1997 to 2008 and Wells was honored by the TSSAA and the National Federation of High School Coaches when he was named boy's Golf Coach of the Year in 2008.

"The biggest hurdle to golf is keeping the kids interested because it directly competes with football," said Wells. "Football is great, but golf has always taken kind of the back burner because of the same time frame of both sports."

Wells retired as golf coach after the 2009 season, but still works at MCHS as a guidance counselor.

Wells talked about his relationship with Johns, "I am very, very fond of Coach Johns and I know he is a good coach and will get the best out of the kids," said Wells. "We talk all the time about the team and what he is doing in practice and I am certain that he will work hard and keep the same success and tradition we have had in the past."