Every other week, the Talon interviews a member of the Oklahoma Christian Community, a Newsmaker, to answer questions about their role on campus.
On Jan. 18, the Talon interviewed David Lynn, the University’s athletic director and golf coach.
How do you balance the positions of athletic director and the golf coach?
I’m seven years into the process, it has become second nature for me. I was the type of person that would leave my office every day with everything checked off my list on those on my desk to start the day. That doesn’t happen as athletic director, it’s a never ending list of things you get to improve and work towards. I had to become comfortable with not getting everything done. I’ve gotten much better at balancing the two. When I first started I would say that I slighted my golf team the first year trying to make sure that I was doing everything properly from the athletic director side. As I’ve gone on, I’ve been able to marry the two pretty well. Our success is still maintained at a high level of success on the golf course. I’ve been able to grow the athletic department from about 215 athletes when I took over in 2016 to about just a little over 500.
What life lessons can students learn from golf?
Golf is so difficult. It really lays your soul open, wide open when you get on the golf course. It’s a self policed sport, there isn’t an official out there watching you. If somebody isn’t honest, you see it on the golf course. How they communicate and how they handle failure, you see it on the golf course. Golf really can teach you how to deal with every aspect of life while you’re out on the golf course. And as a coach, I get to interpret how a student athlete treats their parents, handle adversity, handle success and treat their playing partners. I get to evaluate them and try to help them. That’s one of the things I value the most.
As the athletic director, what changes or improvements are you seeking to make this year?
I’m always looking at how we can add opportunities on campus for students who may or may not already be interested in Oklahoma Christian. I’m always looking to figure out how to improve our facilities and the current status of every sport on our campus. How can I improve coaching? How can I improve the facilities? We’ve really tried to touch every facet of being able to improve. I’m always on the lookout for new things. How can we improve every aspect of the student athlete experience while they’re here at Oklahoma Christian?
What qualities are needed to be a coach at Oklahoma Christian University?
The interview process is difficult; it’s hard to get to know somebody in a couple hours setting. We’ve been really fortunate in the past to find some really quality people that are extremely competitive, and have our student athletes interests at heart. You inherently know you’re going to make some mistake and I’ll tell you that there is nothing harder than being a coach. I would tell you in general, we’ve been extremely blessed with some high quality people that want to really win. They want to win with the inherent difficulties that Oklahoma Christian has on a small private Christian campus. You may be slightly underfunded, and you’ve got to raise funds. I’ve got a good group of coaches that are striving every day to do this. Thank you.
What is your favorite part of being a coach?
I am one of those people who is ultra competitive. My favorite part of my job is being on the golf course with my guys. We just completed this spring, a run to the national championship match and golf. The experience with my guys in the spring was by far the most emotional roller coaster. You spend so much time over the course of the year to see them not only bond together, but then be very successful at the end. It’s something that is so hard to describe. It’s so special to be a part of. You know, a coach can go their whole life never winning a national championship. I’ve been so blessed to have a lot of those competitive things happen on the course.
What has impacted you the most as a coach?
The most impactful part of my job is the relationships I get to develop with the athletes. You don’t know when Jesus is going to open up somebody’s heart, maybe to the message of salvation. We do an awesome job on our campus of knocking on the door of their hearts, and they may not be open. I’ve got a lot of international kids on my team, many of them that never set foot in church before. The field is where you can do some planting, and kind of leave it up to God.
How do you handle adversity with your team?
In my opinion, in today’s world, most of the adversity that kids face is being removed. Very few kids on a regular basis are being held accountable for the adversity that they face. It is my job with my personal team to put them in positions of adversity. We play a difficult schedule, we play wind, the wind, the weather is the worst that could possibly be. I am constantly trying to put obstacles in their paths to see how they adjust, relate, and handle those things. It’s my job as a coach to put them in positions where they’re going to face. They face adversity on an everyday basis. They really learn at every turn how to deal with it.
What changes came as the team transitioned from the Heartland division to the Lone Star division?
The Heartland was mostly private schools. The Heartland conference was the first conference that sponsored us as we transitioned to Division Two. The NCAA had come out with a rule that if you didn’t have 10 members, they were going to dissolve the league. We had nine, and the Lone Star had also nine I believe, at the time. We were really forced to merge; it wasn’t really something we chose. The NCAA has since rescinded you must have tended to maintain conference status, which is unfortunate. Because the Lone Star is extremely competitive. We’re competing with Texas state schools who have football and have budgets and facilities and resources that are much, much bigger than us in general. We’ve done a fantastic job of competing. Our volleyball team just came off our first winning season in NCAA Division two.
I don’t know how those things will unfold over the next few years. But we are constantly evaluating and trying to figure it out because, it’s the student athlete experience, the number of hours riding on the bus, and the time that you have to leave the time that you get home in the evening, how much class time you’re missing, what the cost is to travel, all those things are huge obstacles and things that we deal with every day. The merger for us has been good, in many ways, because it’s given us a lot of quality competition, just in general, it is difficult.
I think we’re rising to the occasion, and slowly getting better at everything that we’re doing as we’re trying to, and I’m really proud of that.