The South Whidbey High School girls golf team will be tutored by a champion this spring.
Useless Bay Golf and Country Club’s current men’s champion Paul Schuller is the new Falcon coach, taking over for Joe Thompson.
Schuller, who is the UBGCC’s only five-time titlist, has been an assistant coach the past three seasons. He helped South Whidbey boys coach Steve Jones in 2017 and 2019 and girls coach Garth Heggenes in 2018.
Schuller said Heggenes, who led the Falcons to a state title four years ago and is the winner of three coach of the year awards, is helping with his transition to head coach.
Martha Carrier will serve as Schuller’s volunteer assistant.
Schuller said his goal for the Falcons is for them to enjoy the season.
“They will learn a lot during the season, but the reason to play high school sports is to make memories and have fun with your teammates,” he said.
One of the reasons Schuller was interested in the job was to share the experience with his daughter Tori, a junior team member.
“I wanted to be around her and watch her laugh and development,” he said.
This is Schuller’s first high school head coaching position. In addition to assisting with the Falcon golf teams the past three years, he coached coed softball in Seattle from 1985-2000.
Schuller grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and attended Washington High School, which claims professional golfer Zach Johnson, a Masters and British Open champion, and former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner among its graduates.
Schuller, who did not take up golf until after high school, calls the game “a lifetime sport.”
“If you look at older men and women around the world, golf is a part of many of their lives,” Schuller said. He would like local high school students to take advantage of the opportunity to “get free coaching and free play at a country club for three months” by giving the sport a try.
Currently, the team has no seniors and only two juniors, so there is plenty of room for newcomers, he said.
“We are very lucky and honored that Useless Bay Country Club allows us to practice and play on their wonderful course,” he added.