A familiar face has returned to the LaRue County High School girls’ golf team this upcoming year. Not only is it a familiar face, it’s also the team’s founder.

Verda Hacker, who previously coached the school’s boys’ and girls’ golf teams from 2002-2006, is back to take over the Lady Hawks program. Hacker was recently announced as the team’s new coach following David Noe’s switch over to the boys’ golf program.

This isn’t the first time Hacker has returned to her alma mater to coach a team. A 1981 LaRue County graduate, Hacker has also served as the girls’ basketball coach and tennis coach, with more than one stint in each role.

“It’s really good, because I’ve coached other things there before,” Hacker said. “They convinced me in again for another second go-around because I did tennis a couple times, I did basketball two or three times, now I’m back at golf for a second time.”

In high school, Hacker was a standout basketball and tennis athlete for the Lady Hawks. Outside of school, she was also an avid softball player. Hacker was inducted into the LaRue County High School Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of its 2020 class.

Hacker attended Campbellsville University, where she played four years of basketball and softball, as well as one year of tennis. After college, she became a physical education teacher, teaching at Buffalo and Magnolia Elementary Schools. After the two schools merged to form Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, she remained a P.E. teacher at the new school. She retired from this role in 2019.

While sports have long been a part of Hacker’s life, she didn’t start to play golf until age 33. This was initially out of a desire to pick a new sport in place of softball.

“’I’ve been a softball player since I was 9 years old. Supposedly in your 30s, you’re supposed to start trying to get out of softball and I thought ‘Well I’ll start taking up golf,’” Hacker said. “I pretty much just played on what I call my athletic ability. I’ve never taken any lessons. Back in that day was when the Tiger Woods heyday started, so that got me interested, like it did a lot of people.”

In 2002, Hacker was approached by then LaRue County athletic director Mike Brown to take over the LaRue County golf program, an offer that she accepted. While there was initially only a full boys’ team, Hacker went on to start up a full girls’ team to take to Region ahead of the 2005 season.

As the former P.E. teacher at Abraham Lincoln, Hacker hopes the relationships she has with many of her former students can help her grow the Lady Hawks’ program.

“I know half the kids already in the school system. So going into high school, half those kids already know me,” Hacker said. “I’m hoping to draw on that, that it might draw them out to play golf just strictly because they know me.”

In this second stint with the Lady Hawks, Hacker said her primary goal is to make sure the girls have fun. She also wants to make sure that even though golf is an individual sport, they still play on a team.

While COVID-19 has made it difficult to get to see her golfers in action, sophomore Shelby Cooper has emerged as one to watch for an impressive season.

Hacker added that one of her former physical education students is also be joining the team this year, with the goal of having more join over time.

“That’s what I’m hoping,” Hacker said. “Not as much this year, but I’m hoping for next year.”

Matt Tyson can be reached at 270-505-1754 or mtyson@thenewsenterprise.com.

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