There was a time he considered a career in banking or insurance but, truth be told, he’s an admitted sports nut. So he stayed with the sport he loves – golf.
“This is my 29th year as head golf professional at Zanesville Country Club,” said Mike Durant, “and I consider all of ZCC members and staff my second family.”
Now 55, Durant was born and raised in Zanesville, the son of Bill and Nancy Durant. He graduated from Rosecrans High School in 1983 after playing basketball and baseball for four years, and golf for two years.
He went to Morehead State University in Kentucky as a walk-on, then won the Kiwanis Morehead Open his second week on campus shooting 68 to tie for 1st with MSU golf coach Rex Chaney. He won on the 3rd playoff hole.
Ultimately, he won a golf scholarship and played for the Eagles. He graduated from Morehead State in 1987 with a degree in business marketing.
“As a kid, I played sports every day,” he recalled. “I thought I would play baseball for the Cincinnati Reds but that gave way to playing basketball for the Buckeyes. When I watched my friends grow big and strong and I didn’t, I tinkered with golf a little bit as a sophomore in high school. Then I fell in love with golf. I really took to it as a junior.
I began working at Zanesville Country Club for Paul Thomas as a senior in high school,” he continued, “and learned about Morehead State as Mike Thomas played there and they had a really good team. I visited MSU with my dad, Bill, and Coach Chaney said if I could make the top six, I would get a scholarship. I thought I could do that, so I committed to Coach Chaney and the MSU Eagles.
After graduation from Morehead State,” he added, “ZCC pro Paul Thomas offered me a second assistant pro job. I accepted PT’s offer and 39 years later I’m still here.”
“Mike is an asset to ZCC,” assessed club member Steven Baldwin. “A fine golfer in his own right, he’s an excellent teacher of the game and always finds the good in whatever task is brought to him.
“Having been a Zanesville resident his entire life,” Baldwin continued, “his dedication to the community is second to none. A devout Christian, he’s never too busy to lend a helping hand or advice to someone in time of need. He gives of his talents to several community charities, including an annual food and clothing drive for Eastside Community Ministry. We’re lucky to have him at ZCC, but especially in the Zanesville community.”
“I believe it’s rare to love this more now than ever, but I do,” Durant responded.
“I’m so grateful to be able to serve people and minister through sports,” he added. “And quite frankly, I enjoy playing as well. Most of my closest relationships began through sports.
“I did wonder early on with my walk with the Lord why I had such interest in sports,” he concluded. “But I thank God every day.”