There’s a myriad of challenges that come with being a first-year head coach, and the one facing Michael Cunningham at White County High School is relatively simple: continuing the success of the golf program.
Success might be a bit of an understatement too, as this is a program that has made seven straight appearances at the state tournament and has won the district title the last three years under Eric Mitchell, the boys basketball coach. While that is certainly a major pair of shoes to fill, Cunningham has remained calm and composed when looking at the year in front of him.
“Our approach is to just take every day as it comes, and to work hard,” Cunningham said. “The regular season is the regular season, and we’re looking at the end, the district and the region and hopefully we can see what we can do at state.”
The boys team is returning players such as Tyson Welch, Trey Crockett, Jarrett Glass and Jeremiah Gardenhire, while the girls expect big things from Morgan Quick on their end. For a first-year coach, Cunningham and fellow coach Brandon Sims have a wealth of talent returning.
“As far as the boys team, we have a lot of key parts coming back,” Cunningham said. “There are a lot of juniors this year who I’m expecting to step up and have an impact … our girls team lost some key players from last year’s team, but we have a couple younger girls coming up that have a lot of potential, so I’m looking forward to that as well.”
It’s not a secret that this team has had a lot of success in recent years, and following up and continuing it will be no easy feat. Add in that you have two first-year coaches, and the challenge gets even more daunting. For Cunningham however, his message to the team regarding how they will continue that success is really simple.
“It’s just day-by-day hard work,” Cunningham said. “Don’t take anything for granted.”