5/15/2017 4:50:00 AM Fire chief adds new role as Hauser golf coach
Hauser golf Coach Mike Compton, also serves as chief of the Columbus Fire Department. Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.
By Suzanne Kanehl For HSJ Online
As an avid golfer, Mike Compton, was thrilled to land a hole-in-one as head golf coach for Hauser High School. Compton wants to see children, and teens of all ages, excel in this sport.
Compton sees a lot of potential for team growth.
"I became the golf coach at the beginning of the 2017 season, and we hope to develop a feeder system in the elementary and middle school levels so we can build a program that can sustain itself," he said.
Compton is not new to playing, or coaching, team sports. He sees value in helping students, of all ages, set and achieve their athletic goals. However, now he embarks into new territory.
"I've been a baseball and softball coach over the years, but never a coach at the high school level," he said.
Coach Compton is not alone in his endeavors.
"My wife and I have been playing golf for around 35 years."
"We really enjoy the sport, and the coaching staff will be trying to pass this love for the game on to the golf team members," he added.
Compton's goal for Hauser's golf team is simple.
"If we can make the golf team members improve their skills and enjoy the sport, then maybe they will develop a love for the game and continue to play like we have."
Compton said that former Athletic Director Dave Irvine had contacted him several times to see if he was interested in being golf coach. At the end of 2016, the time was right.
"I thought it would be something we could do together, so I asked my wife, Donita, if she would be interested, and she said it sounded like fun."
However, Compton's new role did not come without some notable challenges.
"The biggest challenge, so far this year, is getting the team to buy into our system," he said.
"We do some different things, like two-man scrambles and two club golf and putting and chipping drills, to keep the practices light and fun."
"We constantly remind them that, in match situations, every shot counts toward the team's total," Compton explained.
"We were reminded of that during our third match of the season, as we tied for the top spot and finished second on the fifth player score."
No matter how many challenges they face as a team, Compton looks forward to a full and exciting season.
"We play all of our home matches at Clifty Creek Golf Course, located near Petersville, and, once every couple of weeks, we travel out to Otter Creek Golf Course to take advantage of their outstanding practice facilities," he said.
Compton emphasizes that O.J .Thayer, at Clifty, and Chad Cockerham, at Otter, are very helpful to the Hauser golf team because they allow the team to utilize these great golfing facilities.
For Coach Compton, being the head golf coach for Hauser High School is turning into a wonderful experience where he feels completely supported.
"The Hauser athletic staff have been very helpful and the parents are wonderful, and the parents even organized a program for providing meals, for the golfers, for our away events."
The main goal of Hauser High School's golf program is success and personal growth.
"Our goal, as coaches, is to get the players to improve each week," Compton said. "We've seen a couple of kids consistently lower their scores during the season."
"We have also had three kids that had played very little golf until this season, and they've made great strides learning the rules of golf, knowing golf course etiquette, and working on preparing to hit every shot, the best they can, each time they swing the club," he said.
Compton plays more than one public service role in Bartholomew County. He has worked for nearly 30 years at the Columbus Fire Department and was appointed chief on Jan. 1, 2016.
"I've held every rank at the fire department; from firefighter, sergeant, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief... In addition, I'm an emergency medical technician, hazardous materials technician and aircraft rescue technician."
How does Mike Compton find time to wear so many different hats throughout our community?
"The first 28 years on the fire department I worked on the suppression line and the schedule wouldn't have allowed me to take this position," he said.
Compton offers many thanks and much appreciation to everyone who helps make the Hauser High School golf team a success.
"I would not be able to do this job without the help of my assistant coaches, my wife, Donita, and Josh Goodman, who works as a band instructor for the high school," he said. "Together we work as a team to help manage the student athletes, keeping them on task during our busy and hectic schedule."