He won back-to-back state championships and has produced more all-state athletes than he can recall, but it’s not the medals and the accolades that Mike McGown recalls when looking back on a memorable 19-year career as the boys and girls golf coach at Blue Springs South High School.

He won back-to-back state championships and has produced more all-state athletes than he can recall, but it’s not the medals and the accolades that Mike McGown recalls when looking back on a memorable 19-year career as the boys and girls golf coach at Blue Springs South High School.

“It’s the special moments with the kids, when you work with them, and all of a sudden their face lights up and you realize they got it,” said McGown, who retired as both a coach and head of the South Junior ROTC program at the end of the school year.

“I loved being around the kids, and we had some great ones at South – in both the golf programs and the Junior ROTC program. There are those moments you never forget, like the first day of the state championship we won by one stroke. On the first day, Amanda Hanneman shanks her chip shot and takes a 10 on the first day. We worked two hours after that round until it got dark, and the next day she has same shot and puts it up two feet from the hole.

“Her face just lit up. You get the high-five and the ‘Thanks, Coach!’ Those are the moments you remember.”

But not all moments have the fairy-tale ending.

In his last year as coach, he dreamed of taking a talented boys team to state. It didn’t happen.

“We took three guys, but we wanted to take the entire team,” McGown said. “Nick (Rehmer) was our only medal winner and J.P. Derksen missed the (all-state) cut by a stroke, and he bogeyed the final hole. I wanted to cry for the kids who didn’t make it to state and for J.P.

“But for 19 years I emphasized the positive – to remember the good things, not the bad – after I talked to J.P.’s mom and dad at the golf banquet and they said the ride back from state was filled with laughter. I’m glad, because J.P. has had a tremdous career and now that I’m retired, I can go watch him golf at Kansas State.”

The Jaguar girls went through a remarkable four-year stretch where they won four conference and disrict titles and state championships in 2002 and 2003.

They featured the "Four-H Club" as Hanneman, Kristine Howard, Rachael Hudson and Amy Harris joined Logan Thorpe for the most successful stretch in South history.

“The Four-H Club was a lot of fun,” McGown said. “They knew when to have fun – and they had a lot of fun, like Amanda winning the hot sauce- and ketchup-eating contest (at district) – but they knew when to get down to business.

“When they put the ball on the tee, they were all business, and they were special.”

Over the years, McGown said the players haven’t changed, but the teachers have.

“I walk into the teachers’ lounge and I see all these young kids,” he said, chuckling. “And I wonder when they started letting students in the teachers’ lounge. So many of South’s teachers are young, and they are so dedicated and energetic. It’s been so special to have been a part of the South family the past 19 years.”

While McGown is stepping away, the coaching change will be seamless and his good friend and longtime assistant Ted Linke will take over the program.

“I’ve been after Ted to do this for a few years now,” McGown said. “I guess the timing was finally right, because this has not been my golf team, it’s been our golf team and I know Ted will do a great job.”

McGown’s retirement date is June 7, and his last official day is July 31. When asked what he might do Aug. 1, McGown paused.

“I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head. “I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC