GALION — Recently, the Galion School Board announced that it had found a new head coach for the returning high school girls golf program.
Following a two-year stint where the Lady Tigers were not in action due to low numbers, the Galion High School girls squad will look to get out to Sycamore Creek and other area courses and will do so under the leadership of a well known name in the city in the likes of Alan Conner.
Conner, the husband of GHS cross country coach Cindy Conner, will have his work cut out for him, attempting to get the program back in full swing following a two-year hiatus.
“First off, I’m extremely excited to be the new Galion Lady Tigers golf coach this season,” begins Conner. “I’m looking forward to being part of the first team we’ve had in three years and only the fourth in the past eight seasons.”
While this may be his first season as a head coach, Conner is no stranger to Galion High School athletics. Thanks to having children that have since graduated as Tigers, Conner has found himself to be a very busy man throughout the years, not only as Lucas, Sari and Julia’s father, but as a volunteer and assistant throughout a wide range of athletics.
“I’ve always been active in numerous sports in Galion and at the high school in general and I blame my children for that,” states Conner jokingly in an email. “I have had the privilege of coaching all three of my children in youth soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, etc. Whatever activity they wanted to participate in, I was usually volunteering to help,” continues the new golf leader. “This continued as they moved into junior high and up through the high school level…in the past, I’ve been an assistant in soccer, cross country and tennis at the high school level mainly because my kids were playing and they needed help with coaching.”
Clearly a devoted father, Conner now faces the tough road ahead of not only coaching a hopefully resurgent program in a difficult Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference, but also coaching his youngest daughter.
”My youngest daughter Julia has golfed on the junior high team for the last two seasons (I assisted with coaching that last year) and will be a freshman this year,” begins Conner. “She wanted to continue her golfing career and her options were to golf on the boys squad or find at least four girls to comprise a girls squad. After numerous phone calls, mostly from my wife Cindy, we are able to get six girls interested in golfing at the high school this season.”
After being faced with what to do based on his daughter’s desire to golf and his wife’s hard work rounding up a team, Conner got the ball in motion towards bringing life back into the girls golf program at Galion.
“I went to Athletic Director Kyle Baughn and informed him that we had six girls ready for golf and his response was that I should coach them…so I applied, went through the interviewing process and all necessary steps and got the job. I’m not sure I’m the most qualified golf instructor,” jokes Conner, “but I love coaching, love helping the athletes achieve their goals and mostly just love spending time with these young men and women being a role model and good influence.”
With the gathering of athletes and the interviewing process out of the way, Conner looks ahead to the season, which officially begins on Thursday, August 1 with the first day of coaching. The season itself starts the following Monday, August 5.
“A goal for this season is teaching our girls the game of golf. Of the six that we have on the roster this season, only one has ever picked up a club before and we are all underclassmen. We will focus on fundamentals and learning the game,” Conner states optimistically. “We are going to face some tough matches with our inexperience but we will definitely get better as the season progresses. We plan on representing Galion High School the best we can while hopefully generating a little buzz in the community and our school that we are building for the future and we want more girls to participate. For me personally, I cant think of a better place to spend my summer and fall than on the golf course with my daughter and her friends.”
With the road ahead and the challenges that Conner will surely face, he remains incredibly grateful for the opportunity presented to him.
“I’m especially grateful to our boys golf coaches, Bryce Lehman and Justin McMullen, who have been instrumental in helping to get this girls team going. They both have so much knowledge as coaches and a love for golf that they have been wonderful in assisting with (voluntary) practices, scheduling, clinics, fundraising, etc. Anything that I need, I’m able to go to them and they have made this transition as a first year coach pretty easy. I appreciate coach Tom Pawsey and coach Terry Gribble (Galion tennis) and my wife Cindy as they have been great mentors for me as how a coach should do things. Lastly, I’m thankful for Kyle Baughn for believing in me and giving me a chance this season.“
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