ROCKPORT — Camden Hills Regional High School is turning to a familiar face to fill the head coaching position for its golf program.
The school recently hired Mark Wallace to take over as the program’s head coach for Paul MacDonald.
Wallace has experience leading the Windjammer golf program, including coaching the team to a pair of state championships in 2013 and 2014. He previously held the position through the 2014 season when he stepped down from the helm of the school’s golf program to focus more on being a father.
“I live outside the district and we had an opportunity to enroll my daughter at the high school,” he said. “It was clear in order for her to have the experience she deserved at the high school, I would need to make myself more available for her and her pursuits. Transportation to and from our home in Northport would be dependent upon me and would not compatible with the time constraints of coaching.”
Though Wallace stepped away from the program, he said he never intended to completely abandon the program.
“The plan was to return to the post if the opportunity ever arose after my daughter had graduated,” he said. “I am excited to be back and begin the process of rebuilding the program and work with the current group of players.”
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the spring and summer athletic seasons, though golf courses across the state recently reopened allowing for the area’s high school golfers to practice on their own.
“I am approaching the upcoming summer and season with the expectation that we will be able to complete with little or no constraints,” said Wallace. “Fortunately, the nature of golf lends itself to social distancing and the guidelines provided to courses around the state have provided the additional appropriate protection.”
Athletic officials around the state remain optimistic the fall sports season, which includes golf, will be played as planned.
“I am keeping reserved in regards to expectations for the season, said Wallace. “I have a lot of work to do getting to know the players games and where I can determine their potential for improvement.”
Should the golf team find itself on the golf course this fall, Wallace noted the team will be guided by Parker Hilchey, described as a strong leader and player by Wallace.
“I have seen him grow up the golf course since he was little and occasionally we have a chance to play together,” Wallace said.
As a social studies teacher at the high school, Wallace has become familiar with most of the team and noted establishing the team’s culture will be easier than if he was not already familiar with the players.
“Part of the process of working with this team and building for the future will involve me reaching out to local courses and junior programs to start creating a baseline for future golfers in the program,” he said. “For the current group, I will be reaching out to them throughout the summer and making time to play and provide them with a structured set of expectations for playing and practicing on their own time.”
Should there be a season this fall, Wallace has already established how he will measure the team’s success.
“Progress this year will be based on internal successes and the competitive record for the season will fall where it may,” he said.
The team will continue to call the Samoset its home course, something Wallace noted Camden Hills has been able to do for more than two decades.
“We are very lucky in this community to have local courses that support not only junior golf, but Camden Hills golf,” he said.
He credited much of that community support to Samoset’s head golf pro Gary Soule, Samoset resort manager Connie Russell and Goose River Golf Course head pro Alex Plummer.
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