New girls golf program to be led by familiar face
It seems only fair that the coach at Basehor-Linwood High School, who encouraged some lady golfers to try to get a girl's golf team started, be the coach to get the program swinging.
Ryan Higgins, an assistant coach at Basehor-Linwood in baseball and girls basketball for the past four years, will start his first head coaching job with the girls golf team this fall.
Several female golfers at the school have been forced to play on the boys team in the past. With interest in the sport increasing among the girls at BLHS, Higgins encouraged several girls to approach the school's athletic director, Joe Keeler, about trying to get a girls team started.
When the school board approved the team, the search for a coach was on.
Higgins knew he wanted the job immediately.
"As soon as I found out they were going to have a team, I was excited and I was hoping I'd get the job," Higgins said.
Higgins' loyalty to Basehor-Linwood High School helped his cause in securing the new position.
"We always strive to hire coaches within the building," Keeler said. "He's a known commodity and has worked in our building for several years, and when the opportunity came up, he was a logical choice."
Higgins is not only new to coaching golf but he is somewhat new to the game.
He did not begin playing golf until graduating from Kansas State.
"I just bought a set of clubs and fell in love with the game," he said. "I didn't grow up playing, just all of the sudden, I started playing and fell in love with it."
It has not taken long for Higgins to excel in golf. After only playing for a few years, he now routinely shoots in the low to mid 80s and feels he has a solid understanding of the game. He knows he is relatively inexperienced but he is not the only one.
"I'm starting from ground zero as a golf coach, as will be the case for many of my golfers," Higgins said.
Higgins will make up for his lack of experience in the golf world by drawing on his past experience as a coach in other sports.
Coaching is something he loves to do and has a niche for.
"I'm not really a hard coach," Higgins said. "I'm more of a guy who expects respect from my players and that usually goes a long way in solving a lot of problems.
"I'm not exactly sure of the why, but I've always got my players to try really hard for me. I've always been proud of that."
Aug. 15, the first day of practice for the new team, cannot come fast enough for Higgins. He has been anticipating the start of the golf season all summer and is ready to tee off his golf coaching career and the Basehor-Linwood golf program.
"I'm thrilled to get started," Higgins said. "I can't wait actually."