Evans leads on and off the course

Emily Arnold

Georgia Southern University takes pride in their student athletes that are able to lead on the playing field and in the classroom and senior golfer Will Evans is a prime example of that.

First picking up the clubs before he was even five years of age, Evans learned to play golf with his dad, and now, almost 20 years later, he is leading the GSU men’s golf team exceptionally on the greens and in academics.

“Will has come in and worked hard during his four years here,” Larry Mays, head men’s golf coach, said.  “He came in and got a little bit of playing time his first year and progressively he’s gotten a lot better every year and has become a leader both on and off the golf course.”

“He’s a leader in the classroom; he’s probably one of our best students on the team. He carries a high GPA, he leads by example on the course, he’s always doing the right thing, he practices hard, goes to class, gets his job done.  You couldn’t ask for a better leader than somebody who does what they’re supposed to do and leads by example.”

In the fall of 2013, Evans performed his career’s best two weeks in a row starting with a tie for second place at Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic and shooting a four-under-par to secure that spot.  Then, just a week later at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate Tournament hosted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Evans tied for third making that the second top-three finish in a row.

“My coaches showed me this the other day, but I have steadily improved throughout my four years,” Evans said.  “When I was a freshman, I guess I had the jitters. My stroke average was decent at best, my qualifying average was pretty bad and then we looked through my sop­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­homore year and junior year and both of those got better.  My best golf accomplishment is just improving every year.”

Evans has also had a stellar four years academically.  His biggest accomplishment was being named an Academic All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America his junior year, which has requirements of at least a 3.2 GPA, participation in at least 50 percent of the competitions played in by the team and can only be received by juniors and seniors.  Evans was also named a SoCon Academic All-Conference member as a sophomore and junior for maintaining at least a 3.3 GPA and playing in at least half of the team’s competitions.

Recruited right out of high school in McDonough, Ga., Evans made up his mind about coming to GSU after a campus visit and after getting to know Assistant Head Coach Carter Collins.  His biggest pull toward GSU was, of course, the golf program, but also the practice facilities and coaches.

“[Coach Carter] brought me down for a visit and I enjoyed the campus and I made my mind up that I wanted to come and spend four, maybe five, years here and get my education,” Evans said.  “We have a very nice practice facility out off campus and just the way that our coaches handle themselves and they go about teaching us, not just golf stuff, but how to be gentlemen as well.”

Evans is a senior International Trade major with a minor in Spanish and is thinking about pursuing a career in logistics, but he also says that he would love to try his hand at taking his golf career to the next level.

“I’d love to try,” Evans said.  “When people ask me, I just say that I don’t want to be the guy in office that says ‘I wish I could’ve tried.’ I want to at least try. If I make it, great, if I don’t, oh well.”

Traveling to tournaments is a big part of the golf season because there can be as many as nine tournaments that require traveling to different states.  After playing on the team for the last four years, Evans says the things he will miss the most are traveling and playing in those tournaments.

“Five, maybe six, guys travel to each tournament and when you travel you get closer to the guys you’re with,” Evans said.  “Traveling and playing in actual tournaments; I’ll miss them.”

Speaking on his time at GSU thus far, Evans is confident that he has been prepared for whatever road he decides to take after graduation because of how GSU has prepared him academically and athletically.

Evans said, “I feel like Georgia Southern has definitely prepared me for the business world. If I choose to take that route and in athletics, I have definitely been prepared for the next level as well.  I am extremely grateful to come to school here and to be apart of Eagle Nation.”