Schmitmeyer At Forefront Of Golf Team’s Turnaround

St. Marys coach Steve Schmitmeyer talks with Reese Sweigart before teeing off on a hole earlier this season.
By: 
JAKE DOWLING
Sports Editor

The sport of golf has never been much of a powerhouse in St. Marys, but that perception has been changing over the last few years.

Since Steve Schmitmeyer took over the program in 2016, the man has been the forefront to the program’s turnaround — a program that did not dress a junior varsity team, had not won a Western Buckeye League title since 2000 before last season and had not had a boys team qualify for districts since 2006 until Schmitmeyer was coach in his first season in 2016.

Now in his fourth season as the Roughriders coach, Schmitmeyer has not only guided the program to a league championship, but he has helped it become respectable throughout not just the league, but also around the area. 

And no coach shows the passion that Schmitmeyer shows. 

The guy loves the game of golf and his love for the game and wanting to help his players succeed is evident when he races his golf cart from hole to hole to help any player from his best player in Austin Boley, to his No. 5 golfer eight holes away.

“That’s why I am there, I’m there for them,” he said. “We want to make them as good as we can.”

“Years ago, the golf coaches were behind the players and then they met the players when they finished and for awhile, we were only allowed to talk to them in between holes. Now we can pretty much do anything except for stand on the greens.”

And while the golfers also deserve a lot of credit for taking the time to get better, Schmitmeyer also deserves credit for the turnaround with his passion he has for the sport and his golfers playing a more factor. 

Since taking over the program in 2016, the Roughriders boys team that year qualified for the Division II district tournament for the first time since 2006 and two golfers came away mere strokes from advancing to the state tournament.

He helped develop a junior varsity team with players that he is eager about next year when they vie for a spot in the lineup.

“We have a pretty good niche of sophomores and hopefully after this season and during next year they can really work hard,” he said.

Last year, he started a Riders golf camp in June and both years it has generated more than 30 young golfers eager to learn more about the sport.

With his best golfer in his daughter Jill graduating, Schmitmeyer took a three-year golfer, a former soccer player, a golfer who stepped away from the sport the year before and a sophomore in just his second season and beat every league team as well as winning the league tournament for a clean sweep of the WBL. 

“Let’s face it, we don’t get the kids until Aug. 1 so if they don’t put anything in before that then sea re going to be in trouble, but I keep tabs on them in the summer time with how they are doing in the Lima Junior League,” Schmitmeyer said. “Hopefully it is a testament to what we were, where we are at with winning it all last year and creating excitement in the program.”

Entering 2019, Schmitmeyer has a younger team than last year, but they are off to a good start. 

With one senior, one junior and five sophomores, the Roughriders are off to a 2-0 start in the WBL, won the Allen East Invitational on Monday and have fared well in other invitationals that they have played in during the first two weeks of the season. 

Schmitmeyer’s dedication and passion has helped golf become more of a popular sport in St. Marys.

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