Executive Staff

Michael Pius, M.S., PGA
Executive Director
[email protected]

Michael joined First Tee — Upstate South Carolina in February of 2017 after spending five years with First Tee — Greater Washington, DC as their Senior Program Director. During his time there he helped expand their programming sites from three to 15 and grew the number of participants from 400 to over 1,000. Michael is originally from the Washington, D.C. area and worked at a number of golf courses across the country, including Congressional Country Club (MD), Crooked Stick Golf Club (IN), Ballyowen Golf Club (NJ), Westfields Golf Club (VA) and Hidden Creek Country Club (VA). Michael graduated from Penn State University’s PGA Golf Management Program and is a Class A PGA Professional. He also earned his Masters Degree in Sport and Leisure Service Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He spent two years working for the American Cancer Society as a fundraiser and has over twenty years of experience teaching the golf swing. Michael was selected as the 2017 MAPGA Youth Player Development Leader for the Middle Atlantic Section of the PGA of America and sat on the National Player Development Committee from 2019-2020 helping build out new initiatives to help grow the game. Michael loves the Upstate and is excited to continue to help our chapter grow and impact the lives of thousands of kids and teens for years to come. Michael resides in Greer, SC with his wife, Marie and sons, Noah and Patrick.

Derek Kinzer, PGA
Program Director
[email protected]

Derek Kinzer, PGA, is a Recognized First Tee Coach and has been a First Tee Coach since 2003 coaching for the First Tee Central Ohio and First Tee Columbus. Derek also served for 15 years as the Executive Director of the ViaQuest Foundation overseeing golf programs for at-risk teens, individuals with disabilities, and veterans who have had a traumatic episode in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In January 2020 Derek took over the role of Program Director for the First Tee Upstate – South Carolina. Derek has continued to serve the underserved by volunteering for the Els for Autism, PGA Hope, Folds of Honor, and Special Olympics.   

Zach Pretzer
Tournament Director
[email protected]

Zach grew up in Macomb, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Much of his childhood was consumed by basketball, until his senior year of high school when he began playing competitive golf. This sparked a passion for the golf industry. Zach majored in Sports Management at Northwood University. With his first opportunity in golf he interned with the Callaway Junior Golf Tour, where he traveled around Michigan hosting junior events. After graduation he worked with Octagon and the LPGA as the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator at the inaugural Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. Zach was then hired at Savannah Country Club where he served as an Assistant Golf Professional for almost 2 years. Now for the next point on his career path he has moved to Greenville to be a part of the First Tee working as a Tournament Director. He is very excited to be in South Carolina and is looking forward to building relationships and transitioning to the youth side of the sport as well as growing his overall passion for golf and events. 

Kate Prochaska
Development Coordinator [email protected]

Kate is a development coordinator with 10 years experience helping nonprofits with fundraising initiatives. Previously she worked for United Way, Clemson University and Gateway House. She earned a BA in Nonprofit Leadership and Communication Studies from Clemson University. She has been a resident of the upstate for most of her life and enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter – preferably outside! 

Board of Directors

Todd Whitehead
Co-Chairman
Senior Account Executive
Grace Outdoors

Terry Willis
Co-Chairman
Retired Dentist

Bill Strickland
Secretary
Attorney at Law

Drew Rogers
Treasurer
Shareholder,
Elliott Davis

Joe Anderson
Board Member
PwC

Sheldon Early
Board Member
President, Early
Technologies & Services

Carlisle Hamrick
Board Member
President, Hamrick
Mills, Inc.

Andrew Hewitt
Board Member
Commercial Real Estate

Kevin Moore
Board Member
Owner,
Delaney’s Irish Pub

Sarah Owings
Board Member
Senior Manager
PwC

Ryan Phillips
Board Member
Vice President
World Acceptance Corp.

Jimmy Randolph
Board Member
Treasurer, J. Grady
Randolph, Inc.

Ron Rasmussen
Chairman Emeritus
COO, IMI Living

Jonathan Seymour
Board Member
Owner,
GolfBodyFitness

Lisa Sullivan
Board Member

Coaching Staff

Charles Edward
Level 3 Coach
3’s Greenville
Legacy Pines GC

Floyd Hendricks
Level I Coach
Legacy Pines GC
3’s Greenville

Steve Smith
Level I Coach
Willow Creek GC
Greer, SC

Matt Sharkey
First Tee Recognized Coach
Legacy Pines & 3’s
Greenville, SC
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Brenda Rutledge
Level 2 Coach & #GameON Coach
Willow Creek
Greer GC

Laura Maurer
Level 1 Coach & #GameON Chapter Lead
Willow Creek GC
Greer, SC
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Star Kinzer
Level I Coach
The Preserve at Verdae
Greenville, SC

Audrey Mickey
First Tee Recognized Coach

Brad Moore
Level I Coach
Willow Creek Golf Club

Sean Revill
Level I Coach
The Club at Brookstone
Anderson, SC

Will Sawyer
Level 1 Coach
Furman GC
Travelers Rest, SC

Sam Merrell
Level 1 Coach
Greer Golf
Greer, SC

Grace McMillan
Level 1 Coach
Clemson
Anderson, SC

USC Upstate Players/Coaches: Brooke Hutto, Ashley Looper, Parker Fain and Brady Hinkle
Level 1 Coaches
Spartanburg, SC