Triple threat: Ranked amateur golfer pursues degree, teaches at Ole Miss

Published 3:49 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024

By Camille Cochran 
Ole Miss journalism student

Brett Patterson is a top-ranked amateur golfer and a doctoral student in the School of Accountancy at the University of Mississippi.

The Tennessee native attended Middle Tennessee State University as an undergraduate and competed on the golf team.

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“It has always been a part of my life – even working as a professional now, as a professor – it is something that I never wanted to give up,” he said. “Being able to play tournaments in between teaching classes is something that I still cherish, and I look forward to; it’s a nice getaway.”

Patterson fell in love with the game of golf through his father, who also played. At age 11, Patterson started competing in tournaments. One of the highlights of his golfing career was qualifying for the U.S. Open in 2011.

“I was 19 years old and just finished my freshman year at MTSU,” he said. “I had completed local qualifying – 36 holes in a day. I qualified for the U.S. Open, and it was a dream come true.

“I got to see some of the players that I had looked up to. I was just on cloud nine from the time that I showed up to the time that I left.”

Patterson says that he learned a lot from playing the sport.

“Golf very much resembles life in a lot of ways,” he said. “Things don’t always go according to plan, and you have to be able to have some resilience about you. There are a lot of things that you can’t control in life, and there are a lot of things you can’t control on the golf course. Ultimately, what you can control is your work ethic and your attitude.”

Patterson applies those lessons to his teaching. “I tell students that every day,” he said. “From my personal experience, I was never the smartest by any means. If I put the time in, I knew that success would come. That is a message I relay for playing golf and in the classroom.”

Dr. Kendall Bowlin helped Patterson pursue his Ph.D. in accountancy: “I met Brett five years ago when he began our program. He stuck out even then as someone from a professional side of things who was highly qualified.”

Bowlin said Patterson is succeeding in the program on merit.

“He had all of the academic credentials,” Bowlin added. “I did not know anything about his athletic career; we admitted him simply because he was qualified for the program as a Ph.D. student. He has been what I call a model doctorate student. He has excelled academically and made all As.”

Patterson is already teaching accounting classes and he will begin working full-time in the school when he graduates with his doctorate in May.