WKU golf coach Hatchett killed in cycling accident

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RUSSELLVILLE — More information is being released about a crash that killed Western Kentucky University's golf coach.

According to the Logan County Sheriff's Department, Robert Stokes, 27, of Elkton, told police he was driving on U.S. 68 West when he approached six bicyclists in the emergency lane. Stokes told police before he could check his mirrors and get in the left lane, his car hit the rear bicycle, which Phillip Hatchett, 55, of Russellville was riding. The police report says according to visible tire marks from the bicycle, it was on the white fog line at the time of the crash.

Hatchett was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three other cyclists: Morris Lynn Kisselbaugh, 62, Phillip Christmas, 28, and Patrick Christmas, 26, all of Russellville were also injured. Two other cyclists were not injured.

The crash is still under investigation.

Western Kentucky University released the following statement:

“Our hearts are broken following the tragic passing of Phillip Hatchett,” WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said in a release. “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, a 1985 graduate of Western Kentucky University and four-year letterman for the men’s golf program, spent eight seasons as head coach of the program and led a resurgence in recent years since taking over in 2010. Western recorded five top-five performances as a team in 2017-18 with two 6-under outings that produced 858 totals.

The Hilltoppers finished the season with their best conference tournament round since 2008.

In 2017-18, Hatchett’s top individual player, Billy Tom Sargent was named to the all-Conference USA second team and became the second Hilltopper to qualify for a NCAA Regional as an individual and the first since 2008. He also tied for 11th in the 2018 Conference USA championship – the best individual conference finish for WKU since 2010.

Perhaps more than the success on the course, education took an even greater role in Hatchett’s program In 2012-13, 2016-17 and 2017-18, his teams were the standard for academic success on The Hill as they earned the men’s sport program academic team of the year award for posting the top cumulative grade point average among all WKU men’s sport programs.

Two individuals were also named WKU’s male academic student-athlete of the year during his tenure.

Hatchett was also a valuable member in the golf community in southcentral Kentucky where he was a regular on the courses, fostering the development of youth golf in the area. In 2008, he created the Phillip Hatchett Junior Golf Camp in an effort to stimulate the game’s growth and the camp has mentored over 200 young golfers since its inception.

A visitation will be held from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at First Baptist Church in Russellville.