PARKERSBURG — Blake Lewis always wanted to take his golf game to the southern part of the country.
His wish was granted when he accepted an offer to join the North Greenville University men’s golf program. The school is located in Tigerville, S.C.
The senior from Parkersburg Catholic High School was surrounded by family members with a solid contingent of classmates looking on during Friday afternoon’s signing ceremony on the gymnasium’s stage.
North Greenville is an NCAA Division II program coached by Ohio Valley University men’s and women’s golf coach Bud Tate, who is a Marietta College graduate. Throughout his career beginning at middle school age, Lewis sought out advice from Tate whenever the two would bump into each other at a local golf course or participate in a charity golf event.
“I’m excited — I’ve wanted to continue my golf career at a school I feel comfortable with and for a coach I have known for a while,” Lewis said. “It’s a location I am comfortable with. Down south is where I wanted to go.
“I had Bud Tate here at the school as a teacher and played golf with him casually, and now to have him actually as a coach is great. North Greenville is in a location I was looking to go, so here we are.”
Lewis closed out his high school career this past fall as a four-time All-Little Kanawha Conference member and earned a spot on the Class A All-State Tournament team after finishing eighth as an individual.
His most illustrious achievements occurred during his sophomore year when he was both the medalist at the state tournament and LKC Player of the Year.
“After I got that win at state my sophomore year, I thought maybe I have something here,” Lewis said. “Kept grinding. This year was definitely a rebound year. Worked at my game a lot.
“Senior year gave me a little bit of confidence at the end– it wasn’t how I expected to end it, but still got all-state nonetheless.”
Flanked by his mother and father (Sarah and Ryan Taylor) during the signing ceremony, Lewis spent his past three seasons with a familiar face as his coach. Having his father on the bag so to speak for the past three seasons, the combination turned out to be a good match.
Minus a shot here or there, the two stayed on the same page throughout.
“My parents have had the most influence, my dad in particular,” Blake Lewis said. “It was an amazing experience having your biggest supporter by your side as coach and your dad, and your best friend.”
Blake’s father remembers putting a golf club in his son’s hands when Blake was 2 years old. Many years later, Ryan Taylor continued to serve as his confidant as a Parkersburg Catholic coach both on the course, and on rides to and from tournaments.
“I remember getting him a set of golf clubs for Christmas when he was 2 — in March of the following year, he was still 2 and we were at Mini-Bel,” Ryan said. “As soon as he picked up a club he loved it.
“Being there for him at all the meets and tournaments, then being there the year he won states was just an absolute dream come true for a father and coach.”
Blake Lewis, who is embarking on his fourth season with the Parkersburg Catholic boys basketball program, joins a young roster at North Greenville. During the fall season, nine of the 13 members were either freshmen or sophomores.
Blake is not sure where he fits into the picture. Regardless, on a campus visit which lasted all of 24 hours, he was impressed with the golfing facilities and the academics. He plans to major in sports management.
“I went to a class for sports management while I was down there — it was fun, it was interesting,” Blake said.
The school nickname remains the same since North Greenville are the Crusaders as well.
“Bud is a close friend of the family and he invited us down for a visit,” Ryan Taylor said. “We loved every minute down there. Everything about that trip down there in those short 24 hours was amazing. We visited several other schools then a couple of weeks later Bud sent an offer.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at email@example.com
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