Photos By Luke Hoffman
The girls golf team is beginning their season with two new golf coaches this fall, head coach Dave Hanson and assistant coach Ronald Stallard. However, for seven out of twenty of the girls on the team, recently hired head coach Dave Hanson is not new to them.
Hanson has been a professional golf instructor at Indian Hills Country Club for the past twenty years. Over these years he has had the opportunity to coach seven East golfers at Indian Hills through private lessons and the golf program.
Stallard, a current teacher and track coach at East, has taken the position as the new assistant coach. Stallard began golfing when he shattered his ankle in his twenties, and has not missed a weekend of golf since.
Both Stallard and Hanson are looking forward to their first season of coaching high school golf.
While it may seem that a transition to a new coaching staff would pose a setback to the team and their progress, this is not an issue for the East team.
Hanson has already worked with nearly half the East team, so the players already know his expectations. He believes this prior knowledge will benefit the team, giving them a head start into the season.
Players hope that this familiarity and trust with Hanson will ease the transition of new coaching staff into the program. This is especially relevant considering their previous head coach, Ermanno Ritschl, recently retired last year after 20 years coaching at East.
“I think it is a huge benefit, my background, and especially working with girls that are on the team because they already know what my expectations are,” Hanson explained.
Sophomore golfer Karoline Nelson has been coached by Hanson since she was five, and agrees that she feels much more comfortable having known him before this season.
Nelson believes this factor will aid in the team’s transition.
“Not only is [Hanson] very qualified for the job, but he also knows many of us personally,” Nelson said. “I think it will benefit the team, because a lot of us already know what to expect”.
In addition to being familiar with Hanson, Nelson has also had the opportunity to be coached by Stallard during the track season.
One change both new coaches would like to bring to East is an increase spirit of competition.
For the team, being competitive means striving for their ultimate goal: a state title.
Last year East took second, losing to their rival school Washburn Rural by thirteen points. But according to Hanson and Stallard, with both the new and returning talent, the season looks promising for the girls golf team.
“There is absolutely no reason, from what I’ve seen, that they cannot win state this year,” said Stallard.