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Local Sports

A well-deserved honor

Enyart named 2012 Iowa Girls Golf Coach of the Year

Being a great coach goes far beyond just wins and losses.

It takes being a great leader, a great mentor and someone people can look up to.
For those reasons and more, Newton's Scott Enyart has been named the 2012 Iowa Girls Golf Coach of the Year.

The honor was given by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU), and it automatically enters Enyart into consideration for the National Girls Golf Coach of the Year, which will be announced in February by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Asked what the award means to him, the 11-year Cardinals' coach was quick to give its credit to the players he's had over his whole tenure.

"It's an honor that reflects the girls I've coached," he said. "They work as hard as they do and make as much improvement throughout the year as they do. We're competitive in every meet we attend. That's a credit to the kids and how much they put into being on the team. That's what it says more than anything."

While Enyart is humbled by the honor, his former players couldn't help but gush over how they felt about him receiving it.

"I was so excited to hear about it," said Hannah Long, a four-year varsity player who graduated in 2011. "He deserves it so much. I thought of him as Coach of the Year for all four years. For him to have a real award for it this year is great."

"It's amazing. I'm so happy for him," added Jordan Benson, who was a senior on the Cardinals' 2008 state-qualifying team. "He's such an amazing coach and played such a big part in my life and my teammates'. He was like a second dad."

Enyart received the award back in September, just a couple days after the birth of he and his wife Kristin's second daughter, Zoe, on Sept. 12. Returning to school on the afternoon of Sept. 17, Enyart said he was going through his emails when he came across the one for the Coach of the Year Award.

"I didn't think anything of it at first," he said. "I didn't recognize the email address. You get so much junk mail. That's what I mistook it for at first."

The next email on the list was from NHS Athletic Director Scott Jarvis, asking if Enyart had indeed won.

"I replied and said, 'I don't know what you're talking about,'" said Enyart, 34. "Then I went back to the original email and went through it a little more carefully and realized it had informed me I had been the recipient of the Iowa Girls Coach of the Year for girls golf."

The award's nomination process goes through the Iowa High School Athletic Association. Enyart called the IHSAA shortly after and confirmed the honor.

"I was very humbled by this, as is anyone when you're recognized for the time and the effort that you put in with the kids," he said. "The first thing I thought of when I started filling out my application for the National Coach of the Year was just all the fun memories ... all the time and effort all those kids put in ... all the practices and meets ... the summer rounds ... the camps they may have attended.

"It just blows you away how much success we've had as result of all these kids' hard work over these past 11 years of coaching."

The success Enyart's teams have had in his still-young career is outstanding. His career record stands at 562-318 — a .639 winning percentage. That means over the last 11 years, Newton girls golf has essentially been in the top one-third of every meet it's played in. In the last five years, Newton is 313-133 — a .701 winning percentage. The Cards have had a winning record in eight of Enyart's 11 seasons.

Newton won Little Hawkeye Conference championships in 2008, 2010 and 2011, and was runner-up in 2007, 2009 and 2012. It took second at districts in 2002 and 2003 before Iowa girls golf switched to playing just regionals in 2004. Enyart's Cardinals took second at regionals in 2003 and 2008 — sending them to the state tournament both times. There, they finished eighth in the state in 2003 and seventh in 2008.

Enyart's first five years (2002-2006) were in the Central Iowa Metro League (CIML), which included most of the Des Moines schools, surrounding suburbs and other big schools like Marshalltown, Ames, Fort Dodge and Mason City. Newton moved to the LHC in 2007.

Whereas the CIML has a Coach of the Year award, the LHC doesn't. If it did, Enyart likely would have been a multiple recipient of it by now.

And though the award he just received is a yearly honor, one can't help but see it as a recognition of the total body of work of Enyart's coaching tenure.

"I think it's more of a culimation of where we've been, what we've done, what we've been able to maintain and where we're going," Enyart said.

But when you ask his former players why they think Enyart received the award, they don't mention wins or stats. It's all about the person.

"He's so relateable, Benson said. "He cared about us not only as his players, but as people. There'd be times where things would come up for school, and he'd be our biggest fan."

"He's definitely the most deserving person of this award," added Jenna Blunt, a 2011 graduate who was on varsity for four years. "At golf meets, he was the coach that, no matter who I was playing with, he was encouraging to everyone. Other players could be having a horrible round and when he showed up they would be more happy to see him than their own coach because he's so positive."

Blunt's prep career ended with her 2011 team finishing third at regionals, just four strokes shy of going to state. Though it was a heartbreaking end to the season, Enyart helped the Cardinals get over it.

"He said it was one of the best years he's ever had," Blunt said. "He was so proud. We all played our best. It just wasn't in the cards that day. He turned what could have been an awful day into a feeling of accomplishment."

Enyart said his golf program is focused around a few key components: Learning a game you will be able to enjoy all your life, learning to play golf in a competitive setting and learning life lessons from the game of golf.

"Those are the things I really focus on with the kids," he said. "To me, that's more important than the winning and losing, the championships, etc. Those things are fun, but it's about seeing the improvement from the time the golfers are freshmen through the time they are seniors."

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone more involved with Iowa high school girls golf than Enyart. Besides being Newton's coach for the last 11 years, he belongs to a number of organizations that help oversee the sport. He has been a member of the Iowa Girls Coaches Association since 2002. He's been a member of the Iowa High School Golf Coaches Association since its inception in 2002, and a board member since 2010. He was asked to be a member of the IGHSAU's Golf Advisory Committee in 2011, for which he is currently serving a three-year term.

Locally, Enyart received the 2010-11 Excellence in Education Award from the Newton Community Educational Foundation.

Besides girls golf, he has been the assistant boys coach coach since 2000, was an assistant coach for ninth grade girls basketball from 2001-2003, has been a basketball referee since 2003 and a NHS football statistician since 2000. He teaches fourth grade at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.

Enyart's support of his golfers goes far beyond the high school golf season, and beyond graduation, as well. As an example, a year ago he attended the wedding of Becca Blattert — a senior on the 2008 state team — and will attend Benson's wedding a few weeks from now. He's written numerous letters of recommendation for his players, which has led to them receiving scholarships.

"It holds a deep meaning that they stay in contact," Enyart said of his former players. "It's a real neat honor to have been a part of so many kids' lives and had a positive impact."

Long has continued her golfing career at Monmouth College (Ill.), where she had a tremendous amount of success this fall in her freshman season. On Sept. 23, she tied the school record with a round of 80 at a tournament in Decatur, Ill. Six days later and closer to home in a tournament at Grinnell, she broke the school record with a 79 and tied for third place overall.

Enyart was there to see it.

"I couldn't have asked for anyone else to be there," said Long. "No one was there at the last tournament to watch me. I knew it was meant to be when he was going to be there. I knew it meant just as much to him to see me succeed."

Long wasn't even going to play golf her freshman year at NHS until she was swayed by Enyart.

"He convinced me we would make it work," she said. "He stayed after practice for hours to help me. I wouldn't be the golfer I am today without him."

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