Everest Collegiate Pulls Away on Second Day

June 10, 2017

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – There couldn’t have been three more appropriate words for Clarkston Everest Collegiate boys golf coach David Smith to describe the past, present and future of his golf program at the moment.

“It’s all good,” Smith said.

No kidding.

The past was already good heading into this weekend’s Lower Peninsula Division 4 Final at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers East, since Everest Collegiate entered as the reigning champion.

The present turned out to be good as well, since Everest Collegiate successfully defended its title, accumulating a two-day score of 629 to outlast runner-up Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian by 11 strokes.

If all that weren’t enough, the future could be even brighter for Everest Collegiate since it loses only one golfer from its lineup heading into 2018.

It’s all good, indeed.

As for Saturday’s successful defense of last year’s championship, Everest Collegiate showed its resolve on the second day after finishing in a tie with NorthPointe Christian the first with identical scores of 319.

Everest Collegiate played like a team that had been on the big stage before, seeing three golfers break 80 on the second day, led by sophomore Mitch Lowney’s 71.

Senior Joey McMahon shot a 76 and junior JC James fired a career-best 78 to flank Lowney for the Mountaineers.

Junior Nick Korns added an 85 for Everest Collegiate.

“They couldn’t wait to get here,” Smith said of his team entering the second and final day. “There was not a single guy who was nervous. They all have been to states. They knew exactly what to expect.”

NorthPointe Christian also had three players break 80 on Saturday, led by sophomore Erik Fahlen, Jr., who shot a 75. Junior Hayden VanErmen shot a 78, and junior Logan Holtkamp followed up a round of 71 on Friday also with a round of 78 for NorthPointe Christian, which couldn’t quite match Everest Collegiate’s depth past the first three scorers.

However, none of players in NorthPointe Christian’s lineup were seniors, so everyone should return a year better and wiser in 2018.

“Disappointed that we didn’t win, but it was a good year,” NorthPointe coach Erik Fahlen, Sr., said. “Our four and five guys have never been to the state finals before. We don’t have any seniors in the starting five, so we got a good shot (next year).”

Individually, Clinton sophomore Austin Fauser won the medalist honor after collecting a two-day 139, three under par.

Fauser played as a freshman in the Finals last year and had a clear gameplan for Forest Akers East this week.

“I knew what I needed to do and the shots I needed to hit,” Fauser said. “I practiced all wedge shots throughout the week. It’s a little more open so you can hit driver out here a lot.”

Lowney was the individual runner-up, finishing four shots behind Fauser with a two-day total of 143 (72-71).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Clarkston Everest Collegiate’s Kevin Meehan watches a shot during Saturday’s Division 4 Final second round. (Middle) Another of Saturday’s competitors follows his approach. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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)