Lane building champions
Two-sport coach has led two sports to respected tournaments
While on vacation and wearing a Transylvania University T-shirt, Brian Lane had any number of conversations about what you might guess.
Anne Rice novels. Bram Stoker's "Dracula." A hit television series on HBO. The mega-success of Twilight Saga.
The love-affair with blood-suckers and Transylvania has always been part of pop culture. That Transylvania, however, is located near the Carpathian mountains in the central part of Romania.
Lane hopes a university founded in 1780, the sixteenth college founded in the United States and first west of the Allegheny mountains, becomes known for a few more things.
"I don't know, maybe two jokes a day from somebody," laments Lane, a 1990 graduate of the Division III school located in Lexington, Ky. "I had to stop wearing our shirt on vacation because everybody wanted to ask questions.
Lane has been a big part of putting the Pioneers on the map.
Since 2001 he has coached men's basketball at Transylvania. He led the Pioneers to the Elite Eight in 2006 and in 2011-12 the program made its fourth NCAA tournament appearance after winning a fourth Heartland Conference Championship and finishing with a 23-5 record.
Since 2005 Lane has led the men's golf program. Last May marked the Pioneers' fifth consecutive NCAA championship appearance.
"When they approached me about coaching golf I said I'd only do it if we treated it like basketball," said Lane. "That meant recruiting and traveling to the places we needed to in order to compete at a high level. We have a unique situation with the facilities we pretty much share with the University of Kentucky here in Lexington. I really wasn't interested in a bunch of guys who wanted to shoot 80 and get out of class.
"It started out as me coaching basketball and them letting me coach golf. Now they joke that I am a golf coach who also happens to coach basketball."
As a student-athlete at Transylvania, Lane was a three-year starter in basketball from 1986-90. He also played on the golf team. In 1990 he was the school's student-athlete of the year.
Next month when the Division III Men's Golf Championships are held in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., Lane expects his squad to be in contention. All five members return from a 16th-place showing at the 2011 Championships.
"The rankings have fluctuated this year and over the course of four days a lot of things can happen," said Lane, whose squad is ranked eighth in the latest Divison III poll."The weather can do some strange things, but the committee has done a good job of making sure the top teams play together to avoid some of the things that can happen from the morning to afternoon."
Four times, Transylvania has won this season. At the Gordin Collegiate Classic at Howey-in-the-Hills last September the Pioneers were sixth, 22 shots behind top-ranked Methodist, a 10-time winner in Division III.
Senior Justin Tereshko, an Indiana native, was a first team PING All-American last season.
Senior James Dawson, from Bardstown, Ky.; junior Hunter Frazier, from Lexington; and sophomores Jantzen Latham (Central City) and Clay Hinton (Elizabethtown) were all part of a Pioneer squad that lost out on the weekend after losing in a three-team playoff.
"The toughest thing for me right now is figuring out my five," said the head coach. "It's a nice problem to have, though, and shows that the program is improving. I've got three or four guys competing for two spots after my top three."
Golfstat shows Tereshko as the No. 22 golfer in DIII, averaging 72.76 per round. Hinton (43) and Latham (81) are also among the top 100.
The Pioneers next tee it up at the Heartland Conference Championships April 28-29 in Wabash, Ind.
Does Lane ever take a break?
"I have a very understanding wife," said Lane of Andrea, who just happens to be one of Transylvania's all-time best tennis players and 2012 Transylvania Hall of Fame Inductee. "We decompress in August."