This week, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina invited Mesha Levister to compete in the Carolina Golf Classic presented by Blue Cross NC. Her name might seem familiar as it was only eight years ago that she was a Symetra Tour Member herself.
“I legit almost had a coronary [when I found out about the invite]. I jumped. I screamed. We were on the bus ride to Atlanta for a tournament when I read the e-mail and we had to stop at Taco Bell, because I had to breathe,” Levister said with a big grin on her face. “I wish when I was out here [the Tour] was in my backyard like it is this week, but it’s special to be around people I know this week.
When Levister turned professional in 2006, she spent her time not only playing in tournaments but also teaching the game of golf. Her time shifted more towards her personal career in 2010 when she joined the Symetra Tour, but after three years on the road she split time between playing and coaching, and today coaching is her full-time priority. North Carolina Central University (NCCU) men’s and women’s golf team will be cheering on their coach this week at Greensboro.
“I am a coach now, so the kids are excited to say, ‘Coach Mesh is going out there this week.’ So that is awesome,” said Levister. “It’s the first year for the women’s team and I also coach the men’s team. So it’s pretty awesome because I was the only woman to play at NCCU until these girls. It came full circle and now they can see me doing something outside the box. They know ‘Coach Mesha’ not ‘player Mesha.’ They get to see a different side of me, and I don’t want to let them down.”
Levister went onto compete at Lake City Community College for the women’s team where she acted as captain, but the team was discontinued. She received a call from NCCU to join the men’s team. Levister went on to earn the NCCU Men’s Golf Team MVP award and was named the CIAA Men’s Golf Rookie of the year. Now, she can give back to the school that supported her career all while teaching the next generation of aspiring golfers.
For professional athletes and coaches alike, being a role model is an unwritten privilege that comes with the job. From junior clinics on site to the work at their home courses, many Symetra Tour Members and tournament invites share how important they feel it is to show young boys and girls no matter where you come from, golf can be a home for you.
“It’s big for me to be able to do this. I have 15 kids at NCCU that are looking so see what I am doing,” said Levister. “To also have other kids that see me when I am coaching or playing at the golf club, they realize they can do what I am doing out here too.