July 21, 2011

Polk Brown named men's and women's golf head coach, Peni Austin new assistant

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Former Golden Eagle player Polk Brown has been named as the head women’s and men’s golf coach at Tennessee Tech University, while Peni (Davis) Austin has been named assistant coach for both teams.

Brown takes over the reins from women’s coach Brandy Stout and men’s coach Craig King. Stout had previously stepped down last week to accept a full-time position in Knoxville, while King is yielding his position to allow the Golden Eagles to have a full-time coach. Both Stout and King were serving in part-time roles, while Brown will be a full-time coach for the two teams.

“This is an exciting development for our women’s and men’s golf teams, and one that we feel will really benefit our student-athletes,” said TTU Director of Athletics Mark Wilson. “Polk Brown is an outstanding young man with tremendous enthusiasm, a passion for the game of golf, and a strong desire to help our student-athletes achieve success.

“This change is not a reflection on our previous coaches in any way,” Wilson added. “The past few years we went with coaches who had other full-time positions and coached our teams part-time. This new direction is simply an opportunity for us to go with a full-time coach. We wanted to go with someone who could spend more ‘face’ time with our players, more time on the golf course in practices, and could also develop a recruiting plan for the future to make sure that we recruit the most outstanding student-athletes for the golf teams.”

Wilson said Tennessee Tech wants to express gratitude to Stout and King for the roles they played as head coaches during the past few years.

Brown received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Tech in 2006, and will complete his coursework in August to add his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. He spent his first year after graduation as an Apprentice at Holston Hills Country Club in Knoxville, then returned to school in 2009 to begin working toward his master’s. He has also worked the past two years at Oak Ridge Country Club teaching and hosting junior clinics.

“I am absolutely honored to have the opportunity to represent Tennessee Tech,” Brown said. “It’s a dream come true. The coaches before me, especially Bobby, left a huge legacy for me to try to fulfill, especially in the high principles he held. I remember going to school in August, 2001 and now it’s exactly 10 years later I’m coming back as head coach. It’s such an honor.”

Brown said helping the current and future Golden Eagle players achieve success in life will be his highest priority.

“I just want to represent Tennessee Tech in the best way possible. I am thrilled to be coming back, and I want to work with these young men and women and help them achieve all they can,” Brown said. “I want them to graduate from Tennessee Tech, and I want to help prepare them to be successful for the rest of their lives. I want them to strive for OVC championships, and to become the very best person they can. And, when they look back they can say it was the best time they’ve ever had. I look forward to the challenge and I just can’t wait to get started.”

Brown was a four-year letterman under coach Bobby Nichols, playing for the Golden Eagles from 2001 to 2006, with a redshirt season in 2002-03. As a player, he earned all-tournament honors four times during his career, including the Mercer Invitational as a freshman and both the EKU Spring Invitational and Austin Peay Invitational as a senior. A team captain in his final year, he finished fifth at the 2006 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament to claim his fourth all-tournament honor. In 2001-02 he won the Most Improved Player Award and the Impact Award, and in 2005-06 he received the team’s Most Dedicated Player Award.

Tech’s new assistant coach, Peni (Davis) Austin also played at Tennessee Tech, spending two years as a member of the women’s team from 1996 to 1998. In the 1996-97 season she won the team’s Most Dedicated Player Award.

She graduated from TTU in 2002 with a degree in Management Information Systems, and worked from 2005 until 2010 at Grandview Golf Club in Spencer, Tenn., where she taught lessons and worked in the pro shop. In 2010, she moved to Ironwood Golf Course teaching lessons, working in the pro shop, assisting with Tech classes and helping to host junior clinics. She has continued to compete in golf, playing in several area tournaments.

She is married to Rob Austin and the couple has one daughter, Erin (11).

“I’m excited to be working with the Tennessee Tech golf teams in this position, and with Polk Brown,” Austin said. “Our goal is to get our golf teams back to the top of the Ohio Valley Conference.”

“I’ve known Peni through our ties at Ironwood,” Brown said, “and I think she’s going to be a tremendous asset to the golf programs. She shares the same principles that I do. She will push the players to be successful, and I think working with her will be a great partnership. She will bring a lot of passion and desire to the position, and I think we’ll work well together.”

Photo above: Senior Polk Brown and former Golden Eagle coach Bobby Nichols during the 2005-06 season