NACOGDOCHES, Texas -- Forty-year-old Jonathan Shuskey spent 20 years in the U.S. Army as a team leader, squad leader and platoon sergeant. He completed five combat tours and was awarded two Bronze Stars. Army retirement two years ago brought on a new challenge. For Shuskey, it was time to go back to school and to take a swing at collegiate golf.
"My plan was to go do the PGA golf management program. A former Army golf teammate told me while going to school I could play college golf. I laughed it off, I was going to be 40 years old. I found out I still have eligibility, I talked to the right people, and here I am playing college golf," Shuskey said.
Shuskey started at Christian Brothers University in Memphis. Success as a freshman got him noticed by bigger schools. Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, TX came calling. Shuskey is now a sophomore on the Lumberjacks golf team.
"Competing with the young dudes is tough when you're 40. Somedays I roll out of bed... somedays I crawl."
Shuskey didn't play competitive golf in high school, but he sharpened his game in the Army when he could, even when deployed in Afghanistan.
"Some companies would send us old clubs and balls and we would hit them outside what we called the wire. When on patrol we would pick up the balls we could find," Shuskey said.
Now Shuskey is bringing his military work ethic to the SFA golf team, helping his teammates be the best that they can be. After graduation, Shuskey plans to become a coach, working with 18 to 22 year-olds, the same age of the soldiers he trained in the Army.
"I like finding ways to give back to young people and try to help them set themselves up to be successful," Shuskey said.