koenig

Nov. 10 was a long time coming for Luke Koenig.

Koenig, a senior at North Oconee High School, had dreamed for years of signing a college athletic scholarship. He did just that when the NCAA’s early signing period opened Nov. 10. Koenig signed to join the Coastal Carolina men’s golf team.

He celebrated with a signing ceremony held at the North Oconee field house that afternoon. Koenig said he was relieved he finally got the chance to make his future dreams official.

“I've been thinking about this day for a while now,” Koenig said at the ceremony. “I think ever since eighth grade I've always wanted to sign and play a Division I sport. To fall in love with golf and then have a day where I could sign and put that dream to reality, it's just awesome.”

Golf was not always Koenig’s sport of choice, however. Before he was swinging golf clubs, he was swinging baseball bats.

He grew up playing baseball, but one day he got the opportunity to try his hand in a golf tournament.

After realizing success that day, Koenig fell in love with the sport and dedicated himself to improving at it.

“I actually played baseball mainly, all the way up until eighth grade,” Koenig said. “I always wanted to play baseball. Then, I played in a golf tournament my eighth grade year and I played really well and got some college interest and wanted to see how that went. It went pretty well.”

Koenig was new to golf, but he displayed strong skill from the start and continued developing during his time at North Oconee.

He eventually received strong attention from college programs thanks to his efforts.

Koenig held offers from West Virginia, Michigan and San Diego State. Those other programs offered a lot but, for Koenig, he knew Coastal Carolina was the school for him.

“Coastal was ultimately my favorite school,” Koenig said. “It was kind of a clear-cut decision. … I just loved the coaches, [Jim Garren and Yoshio Yamamoto], their mentality and how they developed players. I know I'm gonna get better there and continue to improve.”

Koenig’s current coach at North Oconee, Kevin Stewart, spoke during the signing ceremony.

He listed off Koenig’s accomplishments at North Oconee, pointing out that Koenig ranks in the top five of every boys golf statistic at the school.

But more important than Koenig’s on-field success, Stewart said, was his demeanor within the program.

“If Luke were to sprain his finger this spring and not be able to hit one ball for us, I'd still want him out there every day around our young kids and just influencing his teammates,” Stewart said. “That's the kind of impact he's had and I know he will continue to have.”

While standing in the North Oconee field house Nov. 10, Koenig revealed the emotions he was feeling as he neared the signing of his official scholarship documents.

He recalled how he saw other Titan seniors ink their own scholarships there over the years.

“I can remember walking into this room eighth grade year and getting to play on JV and seeing some of those seniors sign to go off and play in college,” Koenig said. “It felt like it was so far off but it's here. I kind of get chills talking about it.”

Koenig said he is undecided on his college major. He said he might be interested in pursuing a degree in a sports-related field, marketing or finance.

As for his competitive goals, however, Koenig spelled out his high hopes.

“I want to win a national championship,” Koenig said. “That's the ultimate goal and I know we have the guys there who can do that. I'm ready to get to work and try and accomplish that goal.”

Koenig has experienced great individual and team success with the Titans.

With his final high school season coming up in a few months, Koenig reflected on his time with the North Oconee program and said he wants the team to reach new heights before he completes his high school career.

“It's been awesome,” he said. “I've met so many great people and had a great coach. I love competing with those guys. I have so many good memories playing in state tournaments and traveling all over the place with them, going to practices, eating out. I'm definitely gonna miss a lot of it as I go into college. Hopefully, I'll have a good senior year.”

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