By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Beth Hubbard, a 2005 Oxford High School graduate, was named the interim head women’s golf coach at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the school announced on June 11.
Joining the faculty in the fall of 2016 as an assistant professor in the radio-television-film department, Hubbard had also served as a women’s golf “Team Fellow” since 2017, helping student-athletes handle the demands of juggling a collegiate sport with their academic duties.
Hubbard’s ties to the local golf scene go far beyond her playing days with the Wildcats, however. The popular Oxford Hills Golf Course, located at 300 E. Drahner Road, was founded by her grandfather, John Morris Hubbard, in 1970 and is still family-owned to this day.
A Division III school, the Wisconsin-Oshkosh Titans compete in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC). The league is made up of eight member schools with, as the name implies, each institution residing in the state of Wisconsin.
“The ‘Team Fellows’ program tries to create an environment for student-athletes with time-management skills, studying skills and all of that,” Hubbard shared.
“I got involved because I knew the initial shock that comes with joining D-III athletics and then all the academic work on top of that, so, I wanted to help with the girls’ golf team, and that’s how I was introduced to the program.”
Following her days at Oxford High School, Hubbard continued her student-athlete career at Alma College. A four-year member of the Scots’ program, she served as a team captain as a senior and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and theater in 2009.
Introduced to the game by her father, Robert (Bob), who died in October 2019 at the age of 71, Hubbard points to her parents as the driving forces behind helping her get to this point in her career.
“When I started as a ‘Team Fellow,’ my dad would always joke with me, ‘Maybe you’ll be the coach one day.’ That’s so funny how he used to say that, and I wish I could just tell him now.
“He and my mom came to all my high school tournaments and all my Alma tournaments, traveled to every single one. So, I’ve been thinking, if he were here, he would already be looking at the schedule and figuring out how he was going to get to everything.
“Even though he won’t physically be there, I know he’ll still be there with me at every tournament I coach this year. I’ve had a lot of great coaches throughout my life to help prepare me for this role, but none greater than my dad.”
Set to become the fifth coach in program history, Hubbard will officially begin her duties when current head coach Liza Reutten’s retirement kicks in on July 1. Reutten guided the Titans for eight seasons, leading the girls to a conference championship in 2015-16.
“We finished in third-place in the WIAC last year, which was our third consecutive year doing that,” Hubbard said of the team’s prospects entering her inaugural campaign.
“We did, however, graduate four seniors last year, but we are brining in two new freshmen this year, who are pretty decent players. I’m fortunate to be taking over this group of girls, they have a very solid foundation and love the game of golf. I’m excited for our first practices to see where we can go in our season ahead.”
Prior to relocating to Oshkosh, Hubbard joined the family business at Oxford Hills, serving as the club’s assistant director and course professional from 2013-15. This experience, combined with her own time as a Division III student-athlete and intimate knowledge of the high school ranks, make her an ideal candidate to help the university succeed not only on the course, but on the recruiting trail, too.
“I have had a couple of recruits contact me already, which is exciting. One of the girls is from Illinois, but the other is from Michigan, in the upper peninsula,” she shared.
“The girl from Michigan, her dad played for Olivet College. I’m hoping having these Michigan ties will help bring some athletes to Wisconsin. Don’t worry, I’ll pull from my home state, as well.”
Hubbard’s first event as a collegiate head coach will be her university’s annually hosted event, the UW-Oshkosh Classic at the Oshkosh Country Club on September 5-6. The team will travel out-of-state for tournaments in Waverly, Iowa on September 12-13 and Stillwater and Hastings, Minnesota on September 19-20 and 26-27, respectively.
As for Oxford’s girls golf program, the Lady Wildcats finished in fifth-place in the Oakland Activities Association (OAA) White in 2019. Coached by Gretchen Gabler, the girls will compete in the White Division again in 2020, along with the Birmingham Groves Falcons, North Farmington Raiders, Rochester Falcons, Rochester Adams Highlanders and Troy Athens Red Hawks, the same six schools that comprised the division a year ago.