Tony Wallingford needed a change of pace in his life and stepped away from coaching basketball at Milligan College four years ago.
He now heads up the school’s golf program.
Ask Wallingford, who won 408 games in two decades at Milligan, if he misses basketball, and the answer comes quickly.
“Without question,” he said Thursday. “I did it for 30 years and loved it. But I’m still in coaching; I’ve just moved it into golf. I’m all the way in with the men and women’s programs here, and I’m really enjoying it.”
The Milligan men just won the regular-season championship in the Appalachian Athletic Conference earlier this week. It’s a combination of 36-hole scores from the fall tournament combined with the two rounds of the spring event.
The Buffs were six strokes behind heading into play at the Waisoto Winds Golf Club in Pineville, Ky., on Monday. They walked away a day later with a six-shot victory over Union and Tennessee Wesleyan.
It’s their second AAC title in three years.
“We have three seniors in our lineup, and I’m very happy for them,” said Wallingford. “They really used their experience to put together a strong final round and win the thing.”
Matthias Wild led the way with a 73, a day after shooting 81, followed by Kody Fawcett and Mitchell Sutton at 74. Hunter O’Neal was another shot back.
All the AAC teams will get together again next Monday for the NAIA direct qualifier at Bear Trace Tims Ford in Winchester. The winner of the 54-hole tournament will represent the conference at the national championships in Salem, Ore.
“We’ve got a veteran team that knows the challenges of that tournament,” said Wallingford. “I think it will really be a shootout, and hopefully we can get on through.”
The women’s tennis team continued its winning ways Wednesday with an 8-1 romp at Tennessee Wesleyan.
The Lady Buffs have now won four in a row since suffering their only conference defeat of the spring at SCAD-Atlanta. They have dropped just four points over those four matches while improving to 15-2.
All that remains on the regular-season schedule is Lee and Reinhardt. The NAIA qualifier is in Atlanta on April 19.
The softball team saw its eight-game win streak end Wednesday with a 9-6, 10-2 sweep at Columbia College.
The Buffs (11-16, 10-6) now trail ninth-ranked Reinhardt (36-3, 18-0) by six games in the loss column. They played a non-conference double-header Thursday at North Greenville.
The Buffs have climbed back above .500 for the season in baseball.
Their sweep of Virginia-Wise on Wednesday was their sixth win in seven games and boosted their record to 20-18. They haven’t been on the plus side of the ledger since March 9.
Now they’re trying to get there in the conference standings as well. The Buffs are currently tied for fourth, at 7-8, as they prepare to face Union (9-9) this weekend in Barbourville, Ky.