Golf coach hits hole in one by showing integrity

By Danny Schaefer 2006

The purpose of sports isn’t always just to win and hopefully slaughter the competition while you’re at it. Every coach says that he would rather have his players improve their game and have fun rather than make it to State at any cost, and CFHS men’s golf coach Jerry Slykhuis proved this to be true.

The men’s golf team placed third at the district tournament on Oct. 7, beating out Cedar Rapids Washington in a three-hole playoff after both teams were tied with 320 points.

The Iowa High School Athletic Association says that when teams tie, the score of the fifth player from both teams determines who wins the tie, depending on which player has the lowest score.

At the district tournament, CR Washington’s fifth player would have beaten the Tigers’ fifth man, but they didn’t use the fifth player rule; they went directly to the three-hole playoff which Cedar Falls won, and the same mistake allowed them to go to State instead of Washington.

Imagine the bus ride home after Districts, feeling grand becasue your team gets to go to the most important tournament of the year, only to find out later that you were unjustly victorious and shouldn’t have qualified for State. The next morning, Slykhuis was looking at the rules and discovered the shocking truth that his team shouldn’t be going to State.

Coaches have two choices here: they can either keep this mix-up with the rules to themselves and go to State, or they can do the right thing but risk losing their spot in the State tournament.

Slykhuis went to CFHS Athletic Director Gary Koenen and told him the situation. They reported this right away to the IHSAA.

“When Slykhuis told me what happened, my reaction was, ‘Oh, no’ because I thought about what could happen to the players at Washington and CF,” Koenen said.

At first the IHSAA told Koenen that CF wouldn’t be going to State and they would let Washington go, but in the end, the IHSAA let both teams go to State.

This event should be written down in Tiger history not only for the honesty showed by CF but also for the integrity displayed by the coaches.

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