The quiet intensity displayed by high school golfers during competition isn’t significantly different from that found on wrestling mats during the winter.
Cale Hoover recognizes this better than most after serving as an assistant coach for the Center Grove boys golf program, which last week finally lassoed that elusive first state championship at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
In March, Hoover, who a month earlier completed his 11th season as head wrestling coach, was forced to step away from the school’s wrestling room — something he had difficulty doing in the past.
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More importantly, he stayed away.
The amount of walking golf entails benefited Hoover, who weighed 223 pounds over the winter and is now down to 205. His dangerously high November blood pressure reading of 173 over 138 has been reduced to 110 over 77.
“The golf experience came at the perfect time and was the perfect situation. A lot of things timed out well,” Hoover said. “I really enjoyed working with coach (Matt) Rodman. I thought he did a great job this season.”
Hoover’s desire to help coach golf, while initially met with some surprised looks, actually makes sense.
A graduate of Central Noble High School in Albion (33 miles northwest of Fort Wayne), Hoover jokingly refers to himself as the best golfer on Central Noble’s Middle School team his eighth-grade year.
Hoover has always been a fan of golf. He’s started to play more the past four or five years, and occasionally told Center Grove athletic director Jon Zwitt to keep him in mind should an assistant coaching position open up.
This spring, it did.
Hoover, who coached Center Grove’s White Team made up of players Nos. 6 through 10 when it competed in meets, could also be counted on to drive the team bus and lighten the overall mood with his sense of humor.
He was, in his words, just being himself.
“Golf is a lot more like wrestling than people realize,” Hoover said. “The golfers are out there on an island. My wrestlers are out there on an island. I think some of the psychological things really are parallel.
“Another thing coach Rodman wanted me to bring was that nutrition is important in all aspects of sports. We had a lot of those conversations as well as talks about how to compete, keep your composure and maybe play with a little grit. A little toughness. Those kind of things.”
Prior to this season, Rodman and Hoover knew one another, though not well.
Hoover’s wife, Nora, was principal at Middle School Central, where Rodman is a teacher. Therefore, the two men occasionally exchanged pleasantries at school functions.
Last week, the two first-year coaches helped Center Grove win its first state golf championship at Prairie View Golf Club in Carmel.
Four of the five Trojans’ starting players return next season. Rodman and Hoover have plans to, also.
“For me, Cale brought the experience of being a varsity coach. He was great to bounce ideas off,” Rodman said. “He kept the kids very relaxed by cracking jokes. He says some pretty funny stuff.
“We made a pretty good team this season.”
Family: Wife Nora; twin daughters Chloe and Tessa, 9
High school: Central Noble (1996)
College: Purdue University (2000)
Major: Social Studies Education