While he may have graduated from Trinity Lutheran in 2012, Nate Benter has stayed involved with the school’s golf teams since he dawned his cap and gown.
Benter, 22, worked with the Cougars’ boys golf team in 2014 and as an assistant — to his former coach Greg Personett — this past spring.
With Personett stepping down from coaching the girls golf coach this fall but staying on as the boys coach, Benter took the opportunity to head the girls program.
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The hire makes Benter the youngest varsity coach, of any current sport, in Jackson County.
“I love coaching and teaching the game,” Benter said. “I pretty much have the same philosophies as Greg (Personett). There probably won’t be many changes with how the team has been ran from last year.”
Benter has a unique way of working with the kids in practices and during matches.
“I’m hands-on when necessary but like to step back and let them play,” Benter said. “During matches, I will step back but will help them if they’re struggling. On the range, I will help with swings and stuff like that, but otherwise I will be stepping back.”
This past spring, Benter said that he found that he could connect with the high schoolers on a certain level because of the smaller age gap.
“I think it could help,” Benter said. “This past spring, I had some of the boys come to me on different things than they would with coach (Personett). I think that I’m pretty in tune with things going on in the school. Between me and Greg, we worked pretty well with the kids. If he wasn’t able to get through to a player, I gave it a shot, and vise-versa.”
Benter, who lives in the Sauers area, said that Jill Baumgartel, who played golf at Concordia College, will help with the team this season.
Benter is looking to expand the interest of the team.
“One of the challenges I’ve already seen is that there are three girls on the team,” Benter said. “You need at least four to score as a team. Outside of that, I don’t really know what I’m walking into and how good the team is. I’m coming in with an open mind.”
The Cougars opened practice Friday and will travel to Henryville for their first match Aug. 8.