Carter Cheves is only the third golf coach in Ohio history, but his impact is already being felt.
Cheves was hired in July 2018 after the retirement of former coach Bob Cooley. Cooley had 30 seasons of experience under his belt, so Cheves needed to cement his name quickly as a formidable coach. After his first full season at the helm, Cheves is confident in the improvements the team has made under him.
“I looked at where they were, and what I was stepping into,” Cheves said. “My goal for them was just that they compete everyday. Whether it was practice or tournament play, as long as they were pushing themselves to get better and move forward, that was my only real expectation.”
During his own college career, Cheves golfed for two years at North Carolina State before he transferred. He was coached by Richard Sykes who coached at NC State for over 40 years and lead the Wolfpack to 12 NCAA Championship appearances. Cheves cites Sykes as one of his greatest influences in his approach to coaching his own golfers.
Cheves’ previous coaching experiences have been influenced not only by Sykes, but also by the coaches he’s worked under. His five-year tenure as assistant coach at James Madison was largely spent taking notes from head coach Jeff Forbes.
“When I was the head coach at Western Carolina, I wasn’t quite ready for it,” Cheves said. “I went back to assistant coach and worked for a great head coach at James Madison. That was probably the best thing to ever happen to me for my coaching career, to learn from someone well established in the field.”
By taking the knowledge of all the coaches he’s worked under, Cheves is now passing down the wisdom to Ohio’s young prospects.
Four of his best golfers are only sophomores, and they have already vastly improved from where they were last year. With two more years to squeeze out of so many golfers, Cheves is sure that the team can make even greater strides in the near future.
“You look at someone like Zach Mandry, who played very minimally last year, and has been a huge contributor to every event this year,” Cheves said. “Same with Taylor Johnson and Austin Dyson. I look at that whole sophomore class as really taking the next step to helping the program.”
Mandry’s most recent accomplishment was a tie for 22nd in the Wright State Invitational on April 14-15.
Cheves went on to mention three recruits that will be joining the team next fall, who he believes will further push the other golfers to continue improving. One of the recruits, Felipe Darquea, is ranked eighth in the Ecuador Men’s National Rankings. Joshua Dinouard, an international recruit from Switzerland, has competed for the Swiss National Golf Team since 2011.
For the season at hand, Ohio heads to Aurora to compete in the Mid-American Conference Championships. The MAC Golf Championships, held on April 26-28, is where Cheves hopes that his golfers will show that they have improved since the start of the season. Despite a lackluster spring, Cheves is confident that his golfers will turn it around in Aurora.
“We have had our struggles this spring, but we’ve strayed to play some better golf here in the last two weeks,” Cheves said. “I think that should build confidence within the team.”
With top notch recruits on their way and the young squad showing no signs of slowing its improvement, Cheves and his team approach their final event of the year with gusto.