Bernowski intends to expand program
Canal Winchester High School athletics director Kent Riggs was looking for a boys golf coach who could inject an extra dose of enthusiasm into the program.
He believes he found the right man for the job in Joe Bernowski, who was hired June 19.
Bernowski replaces Jeff Bills, who resigned after two seasons to spend more time with his family.
"Our numbers have been down in boys golf the last couple of years and we need to get more of our younger kids in the community interested and involved in the sport to build our program back up," Riggs said. "Jeff used to be a golf pro out here at Westchester, but he took another job at a course in Gahanna and it got to be too hard for him to get over here with two young kids of his own at home. Joe lives here in the community and has a real interest in the sport, and he's real interested in building our numbers back up to where they need to be."
Bernowski is looking forward to being a varsity coach for the first time. The last five years, he has been a junior varsity baseball coach. He has held that position at Canal Winchester the last two seasons after doing so at Westerville North in 2008 and '09 and at Grandview in 2010.
A 1988 Westerville North graduate, Bernowski played two seasons of baseball in high school. He has been a casual golfer since 1985.
Bernowski was a residential and commercial architect for nine years before teaching architecture and engineering at Southeast Career Center from 1997 to 2008. He has been teaching at Fort Hayes Career Center since 2008.
"I like coaching and I love working with student-athletes to help them improve their games, so I'm really excited about this opportunity," said Bernowski, who earned a master's degree in education from Ohio Dominican in 2010. "My first goal is to get more middle school kids interested in golf so that we can expand our program to include a junior varsity team. I'm excited about the potential of this program."
In Bills' first season in 2010, Canal Winchester went 16-2 in the MSL-Buckeye Division to tie Logan Elm for first and placed fifth (345) in the Division I sectional tournament at The Players Club at Foxfire, behind district-qualifiers Dublin Jerome (306), Pickerington North (319) and Mount Vernon (320) as well as Hilliard Darby (331).
Last season, the Indians placed fourth (10-8) in the MSL-Buckeye, behind Fairfield Union (15-3), Teays Valley (15-3) and Logan Elm (11-7), and finished seventh (350) in the sectional at The Players Club, behind district-qualifiers Jerome (300), New Albany (316), Westerville Central (329) and Pickerington North (331) as well as Teays Valley (336) and Darby (347).
Of the five players who competed at sectional last fall for Canal Winchester, two graduated this spring in Brandon Davis and Blake Reynolds. The other three -- senior Taylor Crace, junior Gentry Thompson and sophomore Dylan Lazor -- are expected to return.
Also expected to return are seniors Jacob Dewey and Aaron McClellan.
Last season as a sophomore, Thompson was the MSL-Buckeye Player of the Year and shot a 77 at sectional to earn one of the four individual district-qualifying berths. He shot a 78 at district at Apple Valley to miss qualifying for the state tournament at Ohio State's Scarlet Course by three strokes.
"I'm excited about the players we have coming back and I'm excited about the ones who I've heard are going to come out for the team," Bernowski said. "I want everyone to improve on the scores they were shooting last year so that our team can improve, too."