Lakeview High boys’ and girls’ golf coach Tony Evans has one MHSAA state championship under his belt, with his boys’ squad winning the 2008 Division 2 crown.
Yet in his dozen or so years as the Spartans’ links mentor, Evans’ squads have annually been in the hunt for Michigan prep championships — with his boys’ team last June finishing runner-up in the D-1 finals by a single stroke to Brother Rice, and his girls’ team this past October placing second to Muskegon Mona Shores in D-2 (with LHS’ Danielle Little making top-10 all-state individually).
Those performances, as well as his history of fielding ultra-competitve and successful squads year in and year out, have not gone unnoticed by his peers.
Evans has been named both D-1 boys’ and D-2 girls’ coach of the year for 2012 by the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association.
“Sure, it’s always nice to know that my peers look at our Lakeview program here as being a very, very successful one — a program that started rising to prominence back when Carroll Jensen was the coach and his boys’ teams were always among the best in the state,'” Evans said. “And sure, it’s nice to win these most recent honors — to go along with the one I won when our Lakeview boys won the state championship in 2008.
“But overall, these awards for me are more of a reflection of the state of our whole program. The kids, the parents, the local pros at local courses who have donated so much of their time and effort to run junior programs and get the kids ready to play at Lakeview before I even get them. That’s really what these awards stand for.”
Evans specifically noted the Vocke Family — Cris and Kriste, owners and operators of Cedar Creek, Cedar Farms and Riverside golf clubs who have had three of their daughters excel for the Spartans over the last 10 years — along with Binder Park Golf Course manager and head professional Ron Osborne, who is currently secretary of the Michigan PGA and whose son, Landon, made top-10 all-state individually at the finals last June (with LHS junior Matt Garland being state individual medalist), and Doug Kreis, head PGA pro at Battle Creek Country Club, for their contributions to the Lakeview program in the past 10-plus years.
“Really, my success and the success of our boys’ and girls’ programs at Lakeview is a direct reflection of our golf community here in Battle Creek. It just really says a lot about the Battle Creek area’s commitment to junior golf,” Evans said. “Without the help of the Vockes and Ron and Doug, along with the help of the parents and the many other volunteers and people who work with my golfers, none of this would be possible.”
Evans said he will receive his plaques at the MIGCA’s Hall of Fame awards banquet this coming March, where four new members will be inducted into the Hall for the Class of 2013. Local coaches already in the Hall are Tom Collins of Gull Lake (2012), Roger Fuller of Coldwater (2006) and the aforementioned Jensen of Lakeview and Hastings (1993).