McALESTER — McAlester’s golf program will feature two first-year head coaches when its season begins Monday: boys’ golf coach Jude Schlesselman, and girls’ golf coach Aron Holt. Though neither has been a head varsity coach before, both have plenty of experience as assistant or junior high coaches.
“I’ve always wanted to be a head coach,” Holt said Wednesday.
“Any time you get a chance to coach a new sport, it’s always an opportunity you want to go for.”
Neither the Buffs nor Lady Buffs reached the state tournament in 2013, though returning Buffs golfer Dexter Brown qualified as an individual. For the Buffs, last season broke a string of consecutive State appearances under then-coach Chris Zike, and Schlesselman said the team wants to get back to State this season.
“That’s always the ultimate goal,” Schlesselman said Wednesday. “I think we can (make State). We have some definite talent.”
Schlesselman said approximately 13 boys have shown up for preseason practices this month, five of who will end up on varsity. As a veteran with State experience, Brown is a lock for one of the five bags.
“He’s able to repeat his golf swing,” Schlesselman said of Brown. “He has a very mild manner about him to where when things go bad, he’s able to bounce back. Handles adversity extremely well.”
Though an illness at Regionals kept him from State last year, senior Josh Byrd has been a varsity golfer since he was a freshman, competing with the team at State in 2011 and 2012. Dakota Snell is another senior who should compete on varsity.
“He has a great swing,” Schlesselman said of Snell. “Great mechanics.”
The last two bags could go to two sophomores Garrett Carrion and Brady Justice. Senior Austin Taylor may also have a chance once he joins the team after the basketball season ends.