Page 45



“Memphis has a world-class business industry and we are striving to continue this legacy. But we can’t just talk about being the best … we have to act upon our words.” Michael Cook, founder and CEO of SouthernSun Asset Management, who established the Cook Trading Lab with his wife, Jennifer.






Tee time By Gabrielle Maxey

On a steamy Thursday morning in July, members of The First Tee of Memphis haul golf equipment across a field under the smokestack of the former Firestone plant in north Memphis, setting up a putting clinic for youngsters from First Baptist Church Broad Street.

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE FIRST TEE, a youth mentoring program that teaches life skills through the game of golf. It’s located in a roomy trailer at the old Firestone site. As important as teaching golf skills is, First Tee stresses nine core values to its young participants: honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, courtesy, sportsmanship, confidence, judgment and perseverance. The program includes lessons, tournaments and volunteerism. Etiquette is expected and respected. Players must know the rules, keep

“Your next shot is always your best shot,” says Nyrone Hawkins, executive director of The First Tee of Memphis. “It’s not about obstacles, but about how you handle them.” The program began as the Mid-South Jr. Golf Association in 1991 at Pine Hill Golf Course. (Photos by Rhonda Cosentino)

shirts tucked in, shake hands firmly. “Working with the youth of Memphis has always been a passion of mine,” says First Tee’s

had nonprofit experience.” Hawkins, who sports a “Tiger for Life” golf

community and the meaning of responsibility and respect. One of our nine core values is

executive director Nyrone Hawkins, a Tiger

shirt, admits he wasn’t really a golfer before he

perseverance, and learning to play golf you are

football player from 1988-92. Hawkins had

came to First Tee. “I did know the language and

going to need it, trust me. Perseverance is also

been working in the nonprofit sector for several

some rules, but my skills set was youth and a

needed to be successful at most anything in life;

years, including positions at Binghampton

knowledge of nonprofits.”

once you get it you tend to keep using it. We

Neighborhood School, Taylor Brown Garden

The First Tee provides opportunities for

start our youth out with setting personal ‘pars.’ A

Group Home and Just Care Family. “I heard

young people to experience a positive, safe place

personal par is a small goal that can be obtained

The First Tee of Memphis was looking for an

surrounded by caring adults, says Hawkins (BLS

with little help from others. It’s your goal so it is

executive director. I knew the game of golf and

’07). “They learn the value of giving back to their

personal. Next we build from personal pars to

W W W. M E M P H I S . E D U

FA L L 2 014


Profile for University of Memphis


University of Memphis Fall Magazine


University of Memphis Fall Magazine