Everyday Champion -- Mitch Gillis
Mitch Gillis, a fifth-year senior, plays some excellent golf, but his ability on the course pales in comparison to his abilities that are applicable to everyday life. Gillis has been a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for five years. He has done his fair share of community service with the Boys and Girls Club and he has an outstanding grade-point average (above a 3.75). Gillis won the season-opening Wolverine Intercollegiate, won three prestigious amateur titles in the Northwest this past summer and is a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic honoree.
Q. You are from
A. “Obviously, after junior golf, college golf is the next step. Probably the main reason that I first started looking at
“When I started getting into some of the higher end junior tournaments, Coach Watts ended up coming to watch me play at the Junior World Golf at
Q. You are majoring in Business Administration ... What interests you about this major?
A. “When I was growing up playing junior golf I was competing in a four-year age bracket, so I knew a lot of older guys that ended up going to school. And I think through talking with them after they had been in school two or three years, it seemed like all my buddies were taking business and they liked it. It just sort of flowed pretty good with golf.
“When I came here I kind of had the idea of going into business. When I came here, there was 14 guys on the team and 13 of them were business. It kind of just fit. Luckily I enjoyed it. Now that I’m through I wouldn’t turn back and change my major. I’m really interested, more so in the international business part of it.”
Q. How did you get started in golf? How old were you and who were your early influences, who inspired you?
A. “My parents, obviously first of all. I probably started when I was about five. I would go golfing with my stepdad or my dad when I was really small. They would hit their tee-shot and I would go up to their ball and play from there (with a laugh). I was obviously too slow. I would have taken way too long otherwise, but they would let me play from their ball and keep score from there. So that’s kind of how I got started.”
Q. Did you ever play any other sports other than golf, or has golf been the only sport for you?
A. “Hockey was actually my main sport growing up. I would play two sports per season. It was hockey and curling in the winter and then it was golf and soccer in the summertime.”
“I was kind of a late grower physically. My mom ended up pulling me out of hockey after I took a couple big hits. So that’s what ended the hockey career. During soccer and golf I had some conflicting schedules. I was missing some tournaments in soccer games for golf events on a pretty consistent basis. At this time I was beginning to enjoy golf a little more. Then my soccer coach said, Hey pick a sport,’ and I said, All right, see you later.’”
Q. What are your plans once you get your degree in Business Administration and finish your golf career at OSU?
A. “I’m going to try and put the business career on hold, besides managing my own personal finances. Obviously, I’m going to apply it to my life, but I don’t think I’m going to pursue a job right away. I’m going to give golf a whirl. I’m going to stay amateur throughout the summer. That’s my plan anyways. That is obviously tentative. Then I’m going to give Q-School a shot and see next October if I can give the pro circuits a whirl.”
Q. What do you like doing when you actually get a little time to yourself in your busy schedule?
A. “At home I love ice fishing. I just bought myself a new four-man hut last winter. It’s pretty solid. Ice fishing and snowboarding.”
Q. What extra-curricular activities are you involved in? Are you still involved in the SAAC?
A. “I’ve been involved with SAAC every year that I’ve been here. This is my fifth year. A junior on the team introduced me to it when I was a freshman. I think it was literally the first day I came here. I think one SAAC member left and they needed another one so I jumped in and went to a meeting. I just loved it and started getting involved.”
“I help out with a lot of community service stuff. I do a lot of work with the Boys and Girls club. One of the former football players is the event coordinator over there. They hold dances the first Friday of every month. That’s just a little bit of what we do. A lot of the time the whole team shows up for that.”
Q. What do you enjoy most about being part of the OSU golf team?
A. “This is pretty much your one and only shot to be in a team atmosphere in the sport of golf. That is pretty special, especially after you are out of here. After college there aren’t any opportunities to be on a team unless you are playing in the Ryder Cup, which I don’t even have a chance to compete in because I’m not American or European. I guess there is the President’s Cup, which includes