The wheels of time guide the evolution of a high school sports program as much as anything else, as some players graduate and move on, others advance to the next grade and become senior players, and a new crop of fresh-faced freshmen inevitably appear, as if by magic, to step up and fill the gaps in the roster.
This year, Dominic Lacie stepped up with them.
The two-year Bainbridge High School boys golf junior varsity head coach is now helming the varsity squad, having taken over for Austin Hurt, who stepped down to focus on his own playing career.
Lacie’s a soft-spoken casual kind of guy, a five-year assistant pro at the Spartans’ home course at Wing Point, and the latest in an oddly inconstant lineup of coaches (the fourth in five years). The step up to varsity was something he’d often considered, Lacie said, and he applied immediately when the position became available.
“Austin and I worked closely together and he told me his intentions of stopping coaching because he was going to focus more on playing,” he said. “I plan on sticking around for a while. I have a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, and I’m happy here at Wing Point, and I plan on being around for a bit.”
Lacie said he had no immediate plans to institute changes to the program. In fact, the biggest change to shake up the Spartan preseason came not by choice but by necessity.
“Unfortunately this year we weren’t able to have both teams here at Wing Point because of how crowded Wing Point is now, at this time of season,” the coach said. “So, we did have to split the JV teams up; JV’s been practicing over at Meadowmeer [Golf & Country Club]. So that was the only thing. It wasn’t a change I really wanted to make but had to.”
Though previously having both squads practice together was an integral part of the program, Lacie said he was taking steps to get the boys together as often as possible, regardless.
“We’re working hard to stay together and get together as much as possible.”
Though he’s new to the role of varsity head coach, Lacie is very familiar with most of the players.
“I’ve worked with a lot of these guys throughout the seasons,” he said. “[The first match] definitely came up on us pretty darn quick, but we see a lot of these lads throughout the summer. Half of them are members, or members’ kids, and they’re out here practicing
quite a bit. So we see them around quite often and knew what we were expecting.”
He’s also no stranger to the league, and said he expects good showings from the usual powerhouse programs, Lakeside especially, the team the Spartans will face in their home opener at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10.
“I think the league as a whole has grown tremendously and I think there’s going to be some good competition this year throughout the league,” Lacie said. “We kind of have an idea of who’s going to be our biggest competition.”
Lacie will be assisted by team co-captains AJ Staff, a senior, and Zack Cooper, a junior.
“AJ’s … a stud baseball player and just a great golfer,” Lacie said. “They’ve both shown a ton of leadership. They have a great rapport with the kiddos and I think they’re going to be great captains for our team.”
The new coach said he expects much from the student leaders.
“I expect them to be here longer and put in more hours than anybody else, and they do for the most part,” he said. “They’re out here playing on their own … they play on weekends. They’re out here constantly. They’re out here leading by example — and that’s what I’m going to continue to expect throughout the season.”
About 20 students turned out for tryout this year, Lacie said. Along with Staff, the final team boasts three other seniors: Jack Rector, Josh Goguen and Duncan Wallace. Rounding out the roster are some especially promising underclassmen.
“We’ve got some new faces, some great young freshmen and sophomores that are stud golfers,” Lacie said. “We have a lot of good young talent coming up through the system right now so its’ an exciting time for sure.
“We get great turnouts every year for tryouts. Golf is a big deal here on Bainbridge Island.”