Western Kentucky University’s golf coach, Philip Hatchett, was killed while cycling on U.S. 68 West on Sunday, according to local news reports. He was 55. Hatchett, who was also a WKU alum, had been the head coach at WKU for eight seasons, leading them to five top-five finishes during the 2017-18 season. His teams won WKU’s award for academic distinction three times, meaning that they had the highest cumulative grade point average among the men’s sports programs at the university.
WKU’s athletic director released the following statement on behalf of the university: “Our hearts are broken following the tragic passing of Phillip Hatchett. He was an outstanding individual in every respect, a kind soul liked and respected by all and someone who cared deeply for his players whom he considered family. Phillip exhibited pure class in everything he did. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Beth, and the entire Hatchett family.”
Hatchett was killed while on a bike ride with several other cyclists. Three of the cyclists he was with were injured. Hatchett was pronounced dead at the scene.
When news broke of Hatchett’s passing, Hatchett’s students and players wrote messages remembering the coach on Twitter:
I love you coach. You were like a father to me and you have gifted me with the opportunity to play for you and to be a Hilltopper. RIP Coach. We all love you
— Billy Tom Sargent (@Sargent1034) June 17, 2018
We love you Coach, thank you for everything. You made my dream a reality and I’ll forever be grateful. https://t.co/f58LU6RtMz
— Blake Smith (@Blake_Smith01) June 17, 2018
Heart broken by the loss of Coach this morning! He believed in me from the time I came on my visit to WKU, and gave me an opportunity to compete for my hometown with an amazing group of guys around me! Thanks for everything Coach! https://t.co/sRkhNSVhjS
— Brandon Beckham (@b_beck3) June 17, 2018
The outpouring of support for Coach Hatchett yesterday was overwhelming and we are thankful for your words. He was loved by many and will be missed dearly.
– WKU Athleticshttps://t.co/ASeVJFzq3z
— Phillip Hatchett (@WKUMensgolf) June 18, 2018