Rather excited about opportunity to coach

Alexis Rather grew up coming to Oxford for games and events. Now the new assistant coach for the Ole Miss women's golf program lives here.

For the last five years the Tupelo native has worn the purple and gold of LSU. As her working career begins, the four-year letter-winner for the Tigers trades them in for the red and blue of Ole Miss.

Like one would expect, she holds the fact that she can claim both institutions as part of her life's resume' in high regard.

"I'm excited to be here," said Rather, who started her job at Ole Miss on Aug. 1. "It's basically like being back home. LSU was very good to me. I spent five years there and it was a great experience. I'm dedicated to this team and to Ole Miss, and it's an exciting time."

Rather got an undergraduate degree from LSU in communications and is finishing up her masters in sports management. She had given a good bit of thought for some time to coaching in the college ranks.

"When I redshirted my first year at LSU, Coach (Karen Bahnsen) let me help with a lot of things behind the scenes with the program. So I got a good feel for what college coaching means as far back as that first year," said the Tupelo High graduate. "I talked to her (Bahnsen) about it, and she mentioned my name to (Ole Miss women's head coach) Michelle (Drinkard). I didn't expect it all to happen this fast."

Ole Miss was indeed looking for an assistant coach. Actually both the Ole Miss women's and men's golf programs were looking for new assistants this summer as Ryan Potter replaced Jonathan Dismuke who left Ernest Ross' program for Texas A&M.

Drinkard, in her second year with the Rebels, said Rather is the perfect fit for Ole Miss and her program.

"In the state of Mississippi, Alexis' name alone precedes her, and it is very exciting to have her join our golf family," Drinkard said. "She brings with her to Ole Miss experience as a player, her passion for the game and her infectious smile and personality. Alexis grew up an Ole Miss Rebel, so it's nice to finally have her back home where she belongs."

LSU went to four NCAA Regionals and two NCAA Championships during Rather's career in Baton Rouge. She finished her playing time there in style, helping lead the Tigers to the NCAA Championships where LSU finished 15th. She chipped in for birdie from off the green on the first playoff hole for the final team qualifying spot in the NCAA Central Regional.

Bahnsen has high praise for her former student.

"It has been truly an honor and a pleasure to have Alexis Rather as a part of the LSU golf family for the past five years," she said. "She has a wonderful family and for her to have the opportunity to go back closer to home to help coach the Rebels is a wonderful thing. On and off the course, she has truly been an asset to this program and I knew that in the back of her mind she was thinking about making a move into coaching once her playing days were over. That this situation would open up for her this quickly is truly remarkable, and I look forward to having her as a part of the outstanding coaches that are working together in the Southeastern Conference."

Rather said her parents, David and Jane, are glad to have her back in the area. While she says she may have some time to get there for a home-cooked meal now and then, her main focus is on moving Ole Miss women's golf up in the collegiate ranks.

"I'm looking forward to hitting the road recruiting and helping Ole Miss get to the next level," she said. "I know some of the players here, having competed against them when I was playing. I'm really looking forward to getting started and seeing how good we can be."

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