July 1, 2016

Partly cloudy

Golf coaches Jeanne Pritchard and Jon Laube honored by hall of fame

COLUMBUS — For more than a decade, Medina’s Jeanne Pritchard and Brunswick’s Jon Laube have had quite a rivalry on the links.

The two area boys golf coaches have seen their programs battle on numerous occasions in Northeast Ohio Conference and postseason play.

Jon Laube, left, and Jeanne Pritchard were inducted Monday into the Ohio Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Jon Laube, left, and Jeanne Pritchard were inducted Monday into the Ohio Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame. (PHOTO PROVIDED)

Monday, however, Pritchard and Laube put their competition aside as they were inducted into the Ohio Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual spring meeting.

“It’s nice to be recognized by the executive committee and it’s nice to be honored with Jon,” the 61-year-old Pritchard said. “It was a nice surprise. It’s really been a nice rivalry. Jon has done a lot for Brunswick’s program and brought a new attitude to it.”

Laube echoed those thoughts, as the honor came as a shock to the coach, who helped the Blue Devils to one of their best seasons in school history last fall.

“It’s very humbling for sure,” he said. “I know a lot of the coaches that have been inducted, and to be included in those ranks is really pleasing. I didn’t even know I was nominated. The president of the association sent me an email asking for Jeanne’s info and two hours later I got an email saying I got in.”

Pritchard is no stranger to hall of fames. The decorated amateur golfer was inducted into the Medina County Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and last summer received the Betty Kerby Peppard Award from the Women’s Ohio State Golf Association for her contributions to the sport.

But to get an honor as a coach is something Pritchard will always treasure.

“I really feel like I found my niche,” she said. “I just really enjoy coaching and it’s nice to be honored for something you enjoy doing.”

Pritchard started the girls program at Medina in 1997, guiding the Bees to a pair of state appearances as a team, and has piloted the boys for the last 12 years, earning nine league titles in that stretch. Medina has qualified for districts 10 times, advanced to state seven times — the Bees placed fifth in D-I in 2010 and 2012 — and ran off 60 straight victories in dual matches.

“When we were on that winning streak, it was fun to watch how excited the kids were to continue,” said Pritchard, who has had 10 boys earn golf scholarships to D-I, D-II or NAIA schools in her tenure. “As an adult, you realize that one day it was going to end, but to see how excited they got with every win was great.”

The 52-year-old Laube took what was a run-of-the-mill team and made it competitive not only in the NOC, but in the entire region.

Laube, who had a successful stint as Findlay’s coach for three years prior to arriving in Brunswick, led the Devils to their first conference title since 1965 last season, when they claimed the NOC Valley crown, went 10-0 in the regular season and won a sectional championship. Brunswick has made four district appearances since Laube started in 2000.

“Jeanne’s got my number more times, so it was nice to get a little revenge,” he said with a laugh. “It’s been a friendly rivalry.”

The coach also was integral in bringing back the Brunswick Tee-Off Classic, which will celebrate its 14th year this fall.

“When I took over, the program was not well respected,” Laube said. “I had kids coming to the first day of tryouts with T-shirts and jeans. But I told the kids from the beginning that we were going to set an example. Golf is a classy sport and you have to dress the part and represent your school well.

“This past year was unbelievable. We went undefeated, won the league and were one shot away from the state tournament. I think we gained a lot of respect.”

Laube also began the Northeast Ohio Golf Coaches Association, which was established to gain recognition for players in the district, and has served as the group’s president for the last 13 years. He also has been a member of the executive board as a representative of the district and worked as an official for a number of years at the state golf tournament.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.