The Unique Bond in the Ole Miss Golf House
Feb. 12, 2018
Kory Henkes and her husband Kenneth had big plans for Thanksgiving.
They had new a turkey recipe, straight from Augusta University Athletic Director Clint Bryant, Kory’s AD at her previous coaching stop. They stayed up until 1 a.m. to prep the turkey and slide it into the oven overnight. Kenneth added one final ingredient, a Cajun rub to give the bird an extra kick. But when they awoke on Thanksgiving morning, it was
A smoky Cajun haze filled their house, and they knew the source. The turkey that was supposed to be perfectly slow-cooking instead sat smoldering in their oven, resembling a big lump of charcoal rather than a tasty bird ready to feed their extended family.
After laughing it off with her husband, Kory’s first phone call was to Chris Malloy.
“I sent him a picture and said, ‘We need help,’” Henkes said. “He was dying laughing.”
It wasn’t the first, nor the last time the Ole Miss women’s golf head coach leaned on the men’s golf head coach for some assistance—and vice versa. Together, the two have built one of the most synergistic relationships between any two coaching staffs in collegiate golf.
“You need someone in that role, between the men’s and women’s head coaches, who mesh. It’s a marriage in a way,” Malloy said. “There are coaches, right or wrong, who want to separate the men’s and women’s programs. They want to go about their business. I don’t feel that way, and I know Kory is the same way.”
Henkes and Malloy, as well as their assistant coaches Drew Belt and Kyle Ellis, are constantly working together on a number of levels. Their teams split time and space at the golf facilities on a daily basis, and they work together, lobbying for upgrades and additions to the program’s infrastructure.
They share recruiting ideas, student-athlete management philosophies—almost everything, right down to course navigation if one has experience at a track where the other doesn’t. Since college golf staffs are limited to two full-time coaches, doubling that by combining efforts whenever possible has been invaluable for the Ole Miss program.
“It’s such a unique sport to where you do spend a lot of time together—why wouldn’t you want to utilize your resources to the best of your ability? Some coaches don’t even talk to one another, which is really bizarre to me,” Henkes said. “I really couldn’t ask for a better situation. We’ve been very fortunate to be in the situation we are in. It’s always a good time at the golf house.”
The similar outlooks and the willingness to work together toward shared goals also helped the partnership to come to fruition in the first place. Malloy, an Ole Miss alum, returned to coach his alma mater in 2014, and the women’s head coaching position came open the following year. Knowing Henkes through the tight-knit community that is college golf, Malloy knew she would thrive in Oxford.
“When this job opened, she was certainly high on our administration’s list, as she should’ve been with her resume alone, but I knew that she would be a great fit,” Malloy said. “Everyone wants to be successful, but the way we go about it is pretty darn similar. Between her and Drew, they’re both great. It’s easy to work with them each and every day.”
Likewise, Henkes and Belt knew they were getting a great match in the coaches across the hall at the golf house.
“When this job came available, Coach Malloy was one of the first ones I talked to about it,” Henkes said. “When I came in on the interview, he was great. My husband and I went out to dinner with him and his wife and really got to know them. We really hit it off.”
Of course, Henkes accepted the job and moved to Oxford, where the bond between the coaches has only grown stronger.
“I feel strongly enough about Kory and her husband that my wife and I talked them into living five houses down from us,” Malloy said. “It’s not fake.”
That proximity certainly came in handy on Thanksgiving. Once Malloy got the call telling him that the Henkes turkey was toast, the pressure shifted to his shoulders. But with his friends in need, he delivered, perfectly cooking a turkey on his Big Green Egg to feed both families.
“Their family joined our family, and we had a nice fun Thanksgiving with a delicious turkey,” Henkes said. “It gave us a good laugh. We learned our lesson not to put Cajun mix on the overnight turkey."
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