Golf has been a major part of Katy Nightwine’s past – and it could be a big part of her future.
But at the present time, there’s something more important to tend to that’s putting golf on the backburner.
Close to three decades after making history as a golfer at Ann Arbor Pioneer, much of Nightwine’s time and energy these days is as a stay-at-home mom raising her 2-year-old son Henry with her husband Bryan.
But even while doing that, it’s hard to get golf completely out of her mind, as she’s already trying to plant a seed with her son.
“He enjoys putting the ball on the tee,” Nightwine said. “We’re happy with that progress.”
If the little guy starts fully getting into the game, he’ll be hard-pressed to find a better mentor than his mother.
Nearly 30 years ago Nightwine, then Katy Loy, made history by becoming the first to win three straight MHSAA Girls Golf Finals individual titles in the highest classification/division when she claimed three consecutive crowns in Lower Peninsula Class A.
Nightwine said she grew up on a golf course in Dexter (now closed), which is where she learned the game and grew a passion for it.
“I liked going to golf more than I liked going to swim practice,” she said. “It became that thing I did with my dad after work. The weekends would be spent golfing, and that became my favorite place to be.”
Nightwine won the Class A title in 1993 as a sophomore, and then repeated as a junior in 1994.
She remembers going into her senior year with a lot of people talking about whether she could make it three in a row, but it didn’t put any more pressure on her than she’d already put on herself.
“If I didn’t get it then, that was going to be the blemish,” Nightwine said. “It had so much more meaning than it being the third time, but let’s cap it off and really give me something to remember.”
In her words, it “wasn’t looking so good,” for Nightwine on the front nine during the last round of the Final in 1995, but she turned it around on the back nine at Michigan State’s Forest Akers West to claim her third-straight title.
From there, Nightwine went on to the University of Michigan and was named Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten in 1996.
Due to a desire to play in warmer weather and more prestigious tournaments, Nightwine transferred after her freshman year to the University of Kentucky, where she finished out her collegiate career.
Nightwine turned professional after college and played in a futures tour, but a back injury ultimately led her to quit playing professionally.
She worked as a golf instructor here and there. But in 2008, Nightwine started focusing on what she said was her other passion: Baking.
She opened up a pastry shop in Ann Arbor and continued in that business for 10 years before her family decided in 2018 to sell the property where the bakery was located to a company that repurposed it.
Now, Nightwine is fully entrenched in the business of being a mom and raising her son, but is hoping for a golfing revival in the future.
When her son gets older, she’s thinking about getting back into golf instruction or doing something else in the industry.
If nothing else, she wants to at least get back to playing consistently again.
“To see where my swing is at and go from there,” she said.
Regardless of what the future holds in the sport, Nightwine will always own a piece of state golf history, something she cherishes to this day.
“I will always be involved with golf, especially if (my son) takes a liking to it,” she said. “I have such fond memories of people I met.”
2021-22 Made in Michigan
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PHOTOS (Top) At left, Katy Loy watches a drive during the 1994 Lower Peninsula Girls Golf Final. At right, Loy, now Nightwine, with her husband Bryan. (Middle) Katy Nightwine takes a swing at the driving range. (Below) Katy and Bryan Nightwine. (1994 Finals photo courtesy of Ann Arbor News/MLive; current photos courtesy of Katy Nightwine.)
Detroit Cass Tech boys basketball coach Steve Hall, Farmington Hills Mercy girls golf coach Vicky Kowalski and East Grand Rapids girls swimming & diving coach Butch Briggs and have been named a 2022-23 National Coach of the Year in their respective sports by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.
They were selected by a committee including representatives from all eight NFHS sections – Michigan is part of Section 4 with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The following brief bios include an excerpts from each honoree’s coaching philosophy, which nominees were asked to submit after being identified as candidates for the awards.
Steve Hall guided Detroit Cass Tech to its first MHSAA Finals championship last season as the Technicians capped a 28-1 run. He’s 160-30 in his eighth season directing Cass Tech, with his team 9-0 this winter, and he has a career high school record of 370-103 having also coached at Detroit Rogers (1996-97 through 2004-05) and Detroit Northwestern (2005-06 through 2007-08). He led Rogers to three straight Class D championships from 2003-05, led Northwestern to its first Detroit Public School League championship in 30 years and Cass Tech to its first in the PSL in 19 seasons. He also coached collegiately as an assistant at Duquesne University (2008-09 through 2011-12) and Youngstown State University (2011-12 through 2014-15) before taking over at Cass Tech for the 2015-16 season. He has received multiple state Coach of the Year awards during his tenures at Rogers and Cass Tech, and also serves the latter as athletic director and boys cross country coach.
“My coaching philosophy is ‘Learning Life Skills Through Basketball.’ I have encountered many youngsters that value basketball more than anything. Therefore, I use basketball as a carrot to dangle to help them acquire life skills and other necessities that can benefit them in their lives. Ultimately, when the ball stops bouncing they may be quality fathers, husbands, principals, CEOs, etc., and positive contributors to society. My motto is, “Be better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today.” My athletic philosophy is scholarships and championships in that order! We love to win. But winning is not only on the scoreboard but also in life. Accountability, Reliability, Dependability and Responsibility. “Do what you are supposed to do, be where you are supposed to be, every play and every day.” God has blessed me with high morals, values and unmatched energy to leave my student athletes better than I found them.”
Vicky Kowalski completed her 46th season this fall coaching Farmington Hills Mercy’s girls golf team, and led the program to its second-straight Lower Peninsula Division 2 championship and fourth MHSAA Finals title overall. Her teams also have won seven Regional and 21 league championships and were 220-50 in matches entering the season. She has received several coaching awards over the years including statewide awards from the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association (MIGCA) and Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA). Kowalski also is in her 22nd season as Mercy’s girls bowling coach and has coached multiple subvarsity seasons of basketball and volleyball as well. She’s been inducted into Halls of Fame by both MIGCA and the Michigan High School Interscholastic Bowling Coaches Association (MHSIBCA).
“I have always believed in participation. On all the teams I have coached, everyone plays – no one sits the bench. All my athletes have their opportunities to grow in the sport. I have always preached dedication and sportsmanship. The athletes practice well to perform well. They encourage teammates as well as competitors. I enjoy interaction with other coaches. We share coaching techniques and ideas for improving team performance.”
Milton “Butch” Briggs has led the East Grand Rapids girls swimming & diving team to a record 26 MHSAA Finals team championships, the first in 1978 and including six straight from 1981-86 and the program’s current three-year title streak. His girls program also has celebrated 105 individual or relay Finals champions and clinched 33 league team titles. Briggs has received several coaching awards, including nationally for his sport (girls and boys combined) from the National High School Athletic Coaches Association (NHSACA) in 2000 and the NFHS Coaches Association for boys swimming & diving in 2011. He entered this past fall season with a dual meet record of 522-65-1 over his career, which has spanned 49 years total, and his boys teams have won 12 MHSAA Finals. Briggs also has served as an assistant track coach at multiple schools and as MISCA president, and is in the MHSCA Hall of Fame.
“My coaching philosophy has been, and continues to be, a work in progress. I have formed relationships with hundreds of amazing young people. They have taught me life lessons in real time and real situations. As a neophyte coach, the experience revolved around winning. We worked together as a team, supported each other in and out of the pool, and won often. Thankfully, I became aware of the value within each athlete. Today, I attempt to interact with each athlete at every team activity and follow their progress in non-swimming endeavors. In short, when I removed my ego from the team's expectations and outcomes, the entire atmosphere was much more enjoyable and productive. And we are still capable of being successful. The Lord has put me in the right place at the right time.”
Six more Michigan coaches earned honors in Section 4. Stefanie Kerska was honored in boys swimming & diving after leading Ann Arbor Pioneer to its third-straight Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals title under her leadership, and Asa Kelly was recognized in boys track & field after leading Benzie Central to the LPD3 Finals championship. Mt. Morris volleyball coach James Pender was honored after leading his team to the Division 2 Quarterfinals in 2022, when he also eclipsed 1,000 career coaching wins in the sport, and Traverse City St. Francis’ Julie Duffing was awarded in cross country after leading her program to the 2022 LPD3 Finals championship, the program’s second under her leadership. Haslett/Williamston girls lacrosse coach Chad Pastor was honored after leading his team to the Division 2 Semifinals last spring, and Hartland competitive cheer coach Candace Fahr was recognized after leading her team to the MHSAA Finals for the fourth time in her six seasons guiding the program.
The NFHS has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982.