As Heat teams step up competition, Clay Stothers comes on board
Clay Stothers, a PGA of BC golf teacher of the year recipient, is the new UBC Okanagan Heat golf coach.
Stothers is the Director of Instruction at The Okanagan Golf Club (OGC) and has been around the UBCO golfers for the past few years as the OGC is home course for the Heat. The Bear Course at the Okanagan Golf Club and the Heat golf program will host the inaugural Canada West golf championships this fall.
"This is a dream opportunity for myself and my family. I am excited to join the Heat family and build a program that has an impact on the community," said Stothers. "For the past eight years, my focus has been on junior development in the Okanagan. As the new coach it's going to be an amazing opportunity to help the team members grow as university athletes."
Stothers will be coaching both the men's and women's UBCO golfers. He will be taking over for Cass Hritzuk who helped establish the program as a top contender when it competed in the PacWest collegiate league. After coaching the Heat golfers for six years, Hritzuk—the 2017 PacWest coach of the year—has stepped down to focus on his burgeoning music career with his band Lucky Monkey.
UBC Okanagan Director of Athletics Tom Huisman echoed Stothers' thoughts on praising the departing coach while announcing him as the new leader of the Heat golf program.
"A big thank you must be extended to Cass who not only helped keep the program alive during some tough times in the not so distant past, but who helped establish a strong foundation for the program," says Huisman. "With the programs' move to compete at the Canada West level, the time commitment to coach exceeded Cass' availability. We are beyond happy to have someone as capable and accomplished as Clay to continue the trajectory of making the UBCO Heat golf program among the best in Canada."
Stothers comes to UBCO with a resume that fits the mold of the university's mandate to make a difference in his community. As a teacher and developer of junior programs at the OGC, he earned the 2016 PGA of BC Community Leadership Award.
Stothers is regularly honoured by his peers and is continually listed as a Top 100 golf professional in the PGA of BC. As a certified teacher in the Canadian Professional Golfers Association, he was not only the coach of the year in 2014, but also the 2017 PGA of BC Zone Coach of the Year.
Eight professional wins highlight Stothers' playing resume, topped off with a PGA of BC Championship title. That first-hand experience of winning as a player will be a great resource for Heat golfers during competition.
"I would also like to say thanks to UBCO Athletics Director Tom Huisman and The Okanagan Golf Club and GolfBC, for the support to help build a winning program in our valley," added Stothers. "I also want to add that departing coach Cass Hritzuk did a great job with the team in his time as head coach. Under his leadership those teams and players won numerous medals and banners."
Stothers is currently preparing the UBCO women's team for the upcoming Golf Canada University and College Championship taking place in Komoka, Ontario from May 28 to 31 at the Firerock Golf Club.