By Blake Ells
Trudy and Alex Lockett were on vacation in Florida when Trudy learned that her husband had been named by USA Today as the American Family Insurance All-USA Boys Golf Coach of the Year.
It’s an honor that comes after winning his second consecutive state championship in his third year at Mountain Brook High School.
“I had been told that I was being considered for the award, but I never heard anything else,” Alex said. “We’re on a trip and she’s sort of scrolling through here phone and there it is. I think Benny (Eaves), our athletics director, tweeted it out. She was in another room and (I) heard her shout, ‘Honey! Honey! You won’t believe this! Get in here!’”
It was quite a way to learn about the prestigious award, one that Lockett insists he owes to a remarkably talented group of young golfers at Mountain Brook.
“Of course everyone has been congratulating me and all of that stuff, but if I don’t have the players that I have, I’m not even in the conversation,” he said. “They make me look good.”
Those players are guys like freshman Gordon Sargent and junior William Wann, who received co-medalist honors at state, both shooting 11-under-par scores of 133. Junior Reynolds Lambert placed fourth with his 7-under 137 and sophomore Mac Scott was sixth at 3-under 141. The Spartans’ non-scorer was the team’s lone senior, Ford Clegg, who’ll leave to join the golf team at Mississippi State next season.
More recently, Lambert competed in the Scott Stallings Junior Championship at Oak Ridge Country Club in Tennessee. The contest is an American Junior Golf Association event. He shot a 15-under 201 to not only win, but claim a new tournament record. Lambert is now ranked 168th in the Rolex AJGA nationwide rankings.
Lockett’s career began as an assistant for both the men’s and women’s teams at Birmingham-Southern College. He took a break from coaching upon leaving the Panthers in 2013, and when his predecessor, Eaves, was promoted to athletics director, Lockett inquired.
“We visited and he said, ‘Well, you can help me out this year. This is my last year. We’ll go from there,’” Lockett said. “After that year he offered me the job and off we went.”
With talent like Lambert; Scott; Wann, who is also verbally committed to Mississippi State; and Sargent, who is verbally committed to Vanderbilt, all returning, the expectations will be high for the Spartans to win a third straight championship.
Lockett is most excited about the opportunity that national awards can give his players.
“It can’t hurt,” he said of the recognition. “It’s not something I’m out telling (college coaches). But I guess they get word through the grapevine. (The golfers’) play is what attracts coaches; not my plaques.”