Student athletes gain new golf facility at Nicholls

THIBODAUX – The Nicholls State University men’s golf team finally has a place to call home. The on-campus practice facility provides student athletes with the convenience of walking to practice.

“It is a great asset for our program and the university,” James Schilling, head golf coach, said. “A lot of people in and around the community, as well as our own maintenance staff, pitched in to make this facility possible. It really helps our student-athletes focus on getting better, not only on the course but in the classroom as well.”

Schilling helped with the construction of the facility and continues to help Nicholls maintenance and grounds personnel maintain the area.

Since the inception of the golf program in the 1960s, student athletes traveled up to 70 miles, without reimbursement, to daily practice at area golf courses. Now the golf team can practice on campus, thereby avoiding the risks and expenses associated with travel. Plus, they will have more time to concentrate on academics.

“I am excited for our golf team,” Rob Bernardi, Nicholls athletics director, said. “For them to have a practice facility within walking distance of their dorm rooms and classrooms is a convenience the team has never before enjoyed. Our goal has always been the welfare of our student athletes. Clearly this new facility helps in achieving that goal.”

The facility, paid for with student-assessed athletic fees and a grant from the Lorio Foundation, is closed to the public, much like other athletic facilities on campus. The student-assessed athletic fees – which can only be used for athletic facility improvements, student athlete safety, wellness and gender equity – were voted upon and approved by students in fall 2006. The grant from the Lorio Foundation was marked for the specific purpose of building the facility.

Built at a cost of about $180,000, the facility is situated on 19.61 acres of land donated to the university by Acadia Agricultural Holdings in October 2007. Located on Bowie Road, the facility includes a small office; filming capabilities for student athletes to review and study their techniques; putting greens; and hitting boxes for distance-swing practice.

“The university is deeply appreciative to the Lorio Foundation for its ongoing support of Nicholls State University,” Dr. David Boudreaux, vice president for institutional advancement, said. “We welcome all funding that enhances our campus and serves our students.”