Coaches corner: Pauls inspired by past coaches and father

Caroline Barger

More stories from Caroline Barger



Head golf coach Joanie Pauls

Head boys and girls golf coach, Joanie Pauls, started her golf career by going out and playing with her father. The sport was a bonding opportunity for them. As an amateur Pauls qualified for the national championship but golf is not the only thing that Pauls excelled in. She played basketball at Bethel College for two years before attending Wichita State University to further her golf career. She has been coaching golf at Newton for seven years and an assistant coach for volleyball and boys basketball at Burton high school.

What was your biggest accomplishment while coaching?
Probably the biggest accomplishment was the regional golf title [and] I’ve also had individuals who have placed as high as second at state. Golf is kind of a difficult sport for Newton because it’s a privilege sport and sometime we have a hard time competing with private schools, they have kids who have been golfing since they were little.

What inspired you to be a coach?
When I was at WSU after I finished my eligibility I was a student assistant for a year and I just really enjoyed the opportunity I got to coach at WSU and help out there. I knew that was something I really enjoyed doing.

What’s your favorite thing about coaching?
The relationships that I build with the girls and boys. We spend a lot of time together at practice and tournaments. We are a small group, with only six players at each meet so you form a strong bond. Most of the girls that go out for golf have never played before joining the team. They start out in a situation that is outside their comfort zone but quickly gain confidence in themselves and the team.

What has been the biggest struggle being a coach and a mother?
All of my kids played for me so it was nice who I could be at their events even when I was in a coaching position. Right now I have a senior and two kids playing college ball. It’s hard that I can’t go to many of their meets because their season conflicts with my season. When they have college tournaments, I try to use my personal days to go watch them.

What has made you stay with coaching?
I enjoy golf and enjoy teaching the game to other people. It also gives me the opportunity to teach more than a sport to high school students. The players learn lessons about integrity, controlling their temper and perseverance.

Who inspired you as a coach?
Maurice Benninga, he was my high school coach. One of my college coaches was Dane Harrison and he is now the coach at Kapaun Mount Carmel so now we are able to see each other at tournaments while we are coaching. They never made the game of golf more important than the players on the team. They taught the game, but they did so with respect. They also made practices fun and enjoyable.

What is your favorite memory as a coach?
I have too many. I’ve had so many players go through, my memories aren’t necessary about a golf shot it’s something that’s happened with the girls just building those friendships.