Consistency Pays for Painesdale-Jeffers

May 30, 2013

By Justin Marietti

Special to Second Half


ESCANABA — The boys MHSAA Division 3 Upper Peninsula Golf Finals were not without their fair share of surprises Thursday.


But some of the teams and golfers who didn’t expect to have success weren’t arguing against it when they saw their names at the top of the leaderboard.


Painesdale-Jeffers came out victorious as the team champion, led by Stephen Butina’s score of 80. The team’s highest score was just an 88, and the scoring four shot a combined 333 overall.


“Anytime you win the U.P. title, you are happy,” Painesdale coach Jason Koski said. “It’s a tough course with a lot of elevated greens. But we were consistent and that’s why we were able to win.”


Koski said his team consists of four juniors and a sophomore, so it will be returning next year in their entirety.


“The guys golf a lot and put a lot of time in during the summer, and that’s why they are successful,” he added.


Following the champion was Bessemer, which fired a 335 and had two golfers finish among the top five individually. Derek Gheller tied for second with a 78, and Kevin Gerovac tied for fourth with an 80.


“I was really surprised actually,” Bessemer coach Mark Movrich said. “We’ve had one meet and a practice and then we’re here at the U.P. Finals. I knew we had some good golfers; I just didn’t know what to expect. To come in second is a great accomplishment, and I’m really proud of them.”


He added that like so many other U.P. teams, they had to fight against the weather this year to get practice in. However, although he said he was surprised, he knew his team was capable of putting up these numbers.


“It would have been nice to shave three strokes somewhere and get first place,” he said. “But Jeffers had five guys within a few strokes of each other, and that’s pretty tough to beat.”


Powers North Central finished third with a team score of 344, and Tyler Polfus was eighth overall with a personal score of 82.


“All the boys came in at the mid to high 80s, so I feel great,” Jets coach Denise Porath said. “We’ve been up and down all year, and I think the boys really came through. Some of the boys brought their strokes down by five or six, and that really helps.”


Munising rounded out the four spot with a 352, followed by St. Ignace and Cedarville with 352.


The top individual score for the day was carded by Michael Mcgrath of Watersmeet, who edged several competitors with a 77.


“I had a good start, and I was able to finish well,” Mcgrath said. “I can’t believe it, honestly. Just one good day.”


Hunter Eichhorn, Carney-Nadeau’s eighth grade sensation, tied with Gheller for second place.


Although he had one of the top scores, Eichhorn felt he could have done much better.


“I didn’t chip well to begin with, and I wasn’t playing very well, but I didn’t feel very good,” he said. “It was alright, but there were a couple of places where I could have cut off a bunch of strokes. I could have done a lot better, but it is what it is.”


Trevor Ongie of Lake Linden-Hubbell put up a 79, which was good enough for third place.


Butina of Painesdale-Jeffers, Gerovac of Bessemer, and Sam Eberts of Cedarville all shot 80.


Full results will be linked when available.


PHOTOS: (Top) The Painesdale-Jeffers golf team poses with its trophy after finishing in first place at the Division 3 U.P. Final. From left to right: Alex Outinen, Zach Nicholas, Stephen Butina, Tyler Bailey, and Christopher Outinen. (Middle) Drew Bennetts of Bessemer takes a swing during play in Escanaba. His team finished second overall. (Photos by Justin Marietti.)

Saline's Williams-Hoak Named National Coach of the Year by LPGA Professionals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 20, 2022

The LPGA Professionals have named Saline High School golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak as its national Coach of the Year.

Williams-Hoak was among national award winners who were selected by the LPGA Professionals’ executive committee from a pool of Section Award winners, which were voted on by officers of those regional sections.

More on the award from LPGA Professionals:

The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.

LPGA Professionals Class A member Debbie Williams-Hoak knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels. She is a former LPGA Tour Player and track & field athlete who represented U.S. Track & Field in Russia and West Germany. She is a four-time Big Ten Champion, a member of the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame, University of Michigan Women’s Track Hall of Fame member and a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame as a player, coach and teaching professional. This year, she is being inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

Having been a multi-sport athlete accustomed to competing at the highest level, Williams-Hoak brings something unique to her coaching style. She has successfully coached boys and girls golf for the past 16 years at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, and currently is serving as the first female president of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. Williams-Hoak feels proud that every girl on her team shot career lows while maintaining 100-percent academic eligibility this season, while her boys team placed second in the conference championship and qualified for its second-straight state Finals appearance.

She is dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of the game while empowering students through golf and hopes her example will pave the way for other women coaches to lead as well.

Williams-Hoak received the 2017 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most coveted honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, for her continued dedication and passion for empowering girls through golf.  She was honored with the Midwest Youth Leader of the Year and Goldie Bateson Award two times, in addition to numerous recognitions as Coach of the Year from Saline High School.

She is deeply involved with the LPGA Professionals organization, which she currently serves as the LPGA Midwest Secretary since 2021. She has been site director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Greater Washtenaw Country since 2015 and acted as an advisor for the Site Director Certification program in 2021. From 2018-2021, she worked as an expert committee member for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.  She also coached at the LPGA Leadership Academies in Michigan over the last two years.

"I am extremely humbled by this award, as there are so many outstanding LPGA coaches in our association. What an honor to represent the LPGA, the state of Michigan and the game of golf as a coach,” said Williams-Hoak. “It is a privilege to work with so many wonderful players who make coaching so rewarding. I am also fortunate to have such great fellow coaches in Michigan and throughout the LPGA. Thank you so much for this very special recognition."

PHOTO: Saline golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak, far left, stands for the trophy shot with her girls team after the Hornets won the 2016 Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship. (MHSAA file photo)