Heading into last season, coach Brian Riegel believed his Worthington Kilbourne High School girls golf team might be in for one of its best seasons.
The Wolves lived up to those hopes, earning a second-place finish in the OCC-Capital and qualifying for the Division I district tournament.
Those factors, combined with the fact that nearly all of Kilbourne’s key players are set to return next season, made Riegel’s recent decision to step down as coach a tough one.
“Leaving golf is something I have been struggling with for some time, especially because the current group is very talented and a lot of fun,” Riegel said.
Riegel took over the program during its second season, in 1998, and leaves after 16 seasons, giving him the longest tenure at one school of any girls golf coach in central Ohio history. Tim Cave headed Kilbourne’s first official team in 1997.
Riegel, who is a 1989 Worthington graduate, teaches art at Kilbourne and also creates art and does graphic design work.
According to his website, www.brianriegel.com, Riegel constructs sculptures using a “wide range of found objects, paint, wood, metal, cement and just about anything I can put my hands on.”
He has one piece of art that is displayed at NFL Films offices in New Jersey.
“I now have some opportunities that will allow me to expand my career as an artist, and I need to make space in my schedule to follow this dream,” Riegel said. “I have also had some chronic health issues that have gotten worse with age, and I need to start taking care of myself a little better. I also want to make more time to spend with my family.”
Kilbourne finished third in the OCC-Capital each year from 2007-11 before falling to fourth in 2012.
Then last fall, the Wolves went 27-5 to place second behind Dublin Coffman (32-0). Kilbourne went on to finish sixth (375) at district as the top two advanced to state.
Riegel, who previously served as president of the Central District Girls Golf Coaches Association and most recently was the CDGGCA website manager, said he enjoyed watching girls “gain confidence and have a blast at the same time.”
“I have always felt that learning golf is great for kids because unlike many sports, you can play it your whole life,” Riegel said. “With only one graduating senior, I feel good about the state of the program.”