Big Man on Campus: Q&A with Zach Thomas

Zane Clodfelter

After being away from the game of golf his first year on campus, redshirt sophomore Zach Thomas wanted to get back into the game, and an opportunity to do just that was given by Eagles Head Coach Jim Cheaney. Since joining the USI golf team, Thomas has been a valuable contributor to the Eagles’ success and, for this reason, is our third recipient of the ‘Big Man on Campus’ title.

Thomas is one of five Evansville natives on the USI roster and was a two-time IHSAA state finalist at Evansville Harrison.

The Shield: Let’s go with the most obvious question first – why USI?

Zach Thomas: I like Evansville and I kind of wanted to stay close to home around my friends and family. The friends and family that are in town go to golf matches.

TS: You didn’t play your first year on campus. Why the change of heart?

ZT: After high school I didn’t want to play because I wanted to focus on school and once I got here I realized how much I missed it. So last year I decided to play again.

TS: Tell us about the process you went through to get back into the game and play here at USI.

ZT:  I went and talked to (Coach Cheaney) freshman year and they had a lot of people so he told me to talk with him at the end of the school year. I had a pretty good summer after my freshman year in the city tournaments. He said to try out and I played pretty well. I just went from there.

TS: You made the 2012 team after the tryout process – as a scholarship player or walk-on?

ZT: I had to walk-on last year, then played in every tournament. I had a scholarship for this past season.

TS: You were highly successful at the high school level, advancing to state twice. What can you take from your experiences there and use while at USI?

ZT: You’ve got to play well to compete in college, so it teaches you how to win.

TS: What stands out to you about your coaching staff here at USI, led by Jim Cheaney?

ZT: I like how Coach Cheaney is laid back. We’re successful because of his coaching style.

TS: A lot of your teammates are Evansville natives. Are you guys pretty close?

ZT: It seems like we’re all (really) competitive, but no matter what, we seem to all have fun together. We enjoy what we’re doing here.

TS: Now that this season is over, what are your goals for next year?

ZT: We made a big jump from last year in our region ranking so our goal next year is to finish top three in the GLVC and get within the top eight in our region.