Head Golf Coach
Salisbury, North Carolina
SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - From Laurie Willis, Livingstone College: When Andre Springs was a kid, he and his brothers worked weekends at a Charlotte golf range picking up practice balls for reuse. It was a fun job for Springs who, like most African-American kids in West Charlotte, grew up playing basketball, football and baseball – but not golf.
Nowadays, playing golf is a way of life for Springs. And he's darn good at it.
Years after working with his brothers on the golf range, Springs led Fayetteville State University to four, consecutive Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles as a student-athlete. After graduating from FSU, he became the golf coach at Livingstone College and led the Blue Bears to their first CIAA golf title before eventually leaving to become the first African-American GM of golf courses in Cleveland.
He's proud of the individual recognitions he's received, but Springs is happier about putting golf back on the map at Livingstone.
"When I was at Livingstone the first time we had a really good program and everybody in the league knew beating us was hard," Springs said. "After I left to take a position in Cleveland, the golf program eventually faded away. When I returned, it was tough at first because I had to literally rebuild the program from scratch. Early on we took our lumps, but every match helped us get better. Winning the CIAA championship last year and almost repeating as champions this year are a testament to the hard work and dedication the players and I have invested."
Springs may be quick to deflect attention from himself, but Livingstone President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr. has praise for his golf coach who's also the institution's athletics director.
"Andre Springs is a fine golfer, and I was really fortunate to be able to bring him back to Livingstone," Jenkins said. "He's met and even exceeded my expectations, and he's deserving of all of the awards he's gotten and halls of fame into which he's been inducted. Coach Springs has put Livingstone golf on the map, and we're excited about what's in store for the program and athletics in general on his watch."
Springs said with the return of Philip Harrison – CIAA Scholar Athlete of the Year, low-medal winner in the CIAA and low-medal winner in the PGA Minority Golf Championships
Presented by CastleOaks Securities – as well as the return of several other key golfers, he anticipates competing for the conference title again next season.
"I've been blessed tremendously because of the game of golf," Springs said. "The sport has opened doors for me I never even imagined, and I've met some legendary golfers like Charlie Sifford, Arnold Palmer and Walter Morgan during my career. Golf is such a great sport. It challenges you physically, and it certainly challenges you mentally. I've loved golf from the first time I was introduced to it, and I can't imagine my life without it."
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In 2010, Springs returned to Livingstone to resurrect its golf program, leading the Blue Bears to the CIAA championship last year and to a second-place title finish this year. For his body of work, which includes caddying for Arnold Palmer and becoming a highly sought-after teaching professional, Springs has been elected into the CIAA, the Fayetteville State University, the Livingstone College, the African-American and Mecklenburg County halls of fame.