USC Beaufort announced Friday afternoon that it has hired former SMU and professional golfer Alexis Bennett as its new women's golf coach and assistant director of athletic marketing.
Lindy LaBauve resigned the position in May to take a job as a teaching apprentice at the Lodge at Sea Island in St. Simon's Island, Ga.
Bennett comes to USCB after a successful playing career SMU, where she was a two-time National Golf Coaches Association All-American Scholar. She spent the past two years playing professionally on the LPGA Symetra Tour and the Canadian Women's Tour.
Though she'll continue to play a "few of the state opens and the Canadian Tour events" during the summer, Bennett said trading in her playing career for a coaching career was a common-sense decision.
"Women's professional golf, ... it's very difficult to make a living unless you make it all the way to the LPGA Tour. (This job) just made sense, and this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up, especially with the marketing opportunity," Bennett said. "You can play phenomenal golf out there for a long time and not make it."
Bennett also has experience as an assistant golf coach at Rockford (Ill.) Lutheran High School in her hometown and as assistant program director of TGA Premier Junior Golf in Dallas.
"While she is a young coach, she is extremely mature, very professional and has a diverse background as a player, a coach and in business," USC Beaufort athletics director Quin Monahan said. "She will be a nice mentoring coach for our team."
In addition to her coaching duties, Bennett will serve as assistant director of athletic marketing, a role in which she will utilize her degree in marketing, which she earned from SMU in May 2011.
"(The marketing aspect) is a real bonus with her," Monahan said. "It's not something we were looking to fill, she's just a just a perfect fit. It was actually a position Laura (Heberling) held, but with her promotion to head softball coach, we felt it was a good time to re-evaluate our position. With Alexis' background in advertising and marketing and business, she was a natural."
Bennett was offered the job Wednesday and accepted on Thursday. She hasn't yet made it to Beaufort County.
"I'm hoping to move in Thursday and be in the office by Friday," Bennett said.
The Sand Sharks return five players from last year's team that finished third in the Sun Conference Championships and 15th in the NAIA National Championships, including three -- senior Kendra Collins, junior Victoria DeGroodt and junior Samantha O'Donnell -- who competed at nationals. USCB has qualified for the NAIA National Championships four consecutive years.