For seven seasons, Phil Larrick has been in charge of preparing middle school golfers to feed into the highly-successful Clinton-Massie High School program.
As the 2018 season unfolds, Larrick is pulling double duty.
Larrick is the varsity head coach for the first time and is still running the middle school program. Brian Mudd, a 2018 inductee into the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame, has stepped aside for now, Larrick said, to deal with his medical issues.
“Replacing hall of fame coach Brian Mudd will be a very difficult task,” said Larrick. “Hopefully he returns soon. I will lean on him as much as I can.”
Taking over the varsity post is made that much more difficult given the number of varsity players returning from last year’s SBAAC American Division championship and district qualifying team.
“We have zero varsity experience,” said Larrick. “Nothing can simulate playing in a high school match. Hopefully by years-end we can show some improvement.”
Junior varsity players from a year ago will lead six players on the Falcons squad this season. Carsyn Creager, Clay Carroll and Michael Moritz have high school matches under their belts, although at the JV level.
Ethan Johnson was the No. 1 player on the middle school team last year and he joins the high school squad. Kaleb Hughes played in middle school then took a season off last year but is back. Colt Myers is a first-year player.
“I like the enthusiasm,” said Larrick. “The players are excited to get a chance to play varsity.”
Last year Clinton-Massie was 30-3, Larrick said, but gone are first team All-SBAAC golfers Keith Mineer and Max Carnevale and second-teamer Cam Collett. Mineer also was the SBAAC American Division Golfer of the Year while Mudd earned Coach of the Year honors.
Alex Burnham, Nick Young and Ryan Riggers also graduated from last season’s strong team.
“Last year’s team was on of, if not the best in school history,” said Larrick. “Not only were they good golfers, they were better young men.”
Larrick said Wilmington and Western Brown are the favorites to win the American Division title this season.