2012 NPT PHOTO BY SETH BUTLER Cocke County High School senior golfer Cassidy Gibson (front, second from right) recently declared her intentions to play collegiately at Milligan College. Joining her in a signing ceremony were, at front, sister Julia, mother Sheila, Gibson, and father Tony. At rear are Milligan College golf coach Tony Wallingford, CCHS athletic director Patrick O'Neil, CCHS golf coach Boddie Bible, grandmother Betty Frazier, grandmother Gladys Gibson and former CCHS golf coach Blake Briggs.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
(Last modified: 2012-11-01 08:00:35)
Author: Seth Butler
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

NEWPORT-After wading through multiple scholarship offers to continue her golf career, Cocke County High School senior Cassidy Gibson finally has her choice.

Gibson chose Milligan College, of Elizabethton, as her selection to play collegiate golf for over the course of the next four years. Milligan won out for the services of Gibson over a handful of other schools.

While the choice for Gibson was stressful, she said that the comfort level she felt with Milligan golf coach Tony Wallingford was one of the top factors into her decision.

"Being able to have as many offers as I did made it a really hard decision," Gibson said. "A lot of the coaches just kind of gave me an offer and left it up to me to contact him, but coach (Wallingford) was very interactive with me.

"He would call me multiple times a week to ask how I was and to come watch me a few times," Gibson said. "He just acted like he was a really good coach and he really made an impression on me."

Academics also played a role in Gibson's decision. She plans to major in sociology and criminal justice at Milligan College, which was another factor in her decision. In addition to being a top golfer,

Gibson is also a top student at Cocke County High School, where she is active in its award-winning
Navy Junior ROTC program. Gibson is a staff officer within the ROTC program and has received several leadership awards.

"They were able to give me a really great offer and they have a lot of what I wanted to do with my life and the majors and everything I want to pursue," Gibson said. "It's a really prestigious school and a lot of people talked me into going there."

While Wallingford made an impression on Gibson recruiting her, it was Gibson's play that initially made an impression on Wallingford. He has followed her career closely since he started the women's golf program at Milligan in the fall of 2010.

"I saw Cassidy a few years ago, right when we had started our women's program, when she was at the Tennessee Junior," Wallingford said. "I was very impressed with her three years ago and I've kept my eye on her and followed her through."

Gibson, who made her third trip to the TSSAA Class AAA State Tournament in September after claiming the individual District 2-AAA and Region 1-AAA titles, will be expected to immediately help the Lady Buffs squad next year. Milligan won the Appalachian Athletic Conference title a season ago
and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament.

"We're excited to get Cassidy, she's a blue-chipper," Wallingford said. "We're looking for her to come in and make an immediate impact on our team."

Gibson was a big part of the Milligan recruiting class, which will be instrumental in the program's future successes.

"We won the conference, region and advanced to the national tournament last year and were ranked in the top 50 among 149 NAIA schools according to GolfStat," Wallingford said. "We're getting more and more competitive and this was a big class for us in our fourth year.

"It was very important for us to move up our competitive level and no better way to start than with Cassidy," Wallingford said.

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