Longtime girls’ coach awarded

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Longtime West Liberty Girls' Golf Coach Greg Guinn has been named the recipient of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union's Golden Plaque of Distinction Award.

Greg was presented the award Monday morning at the Iowa Girls State Golf Tournament.

"I am honored and humbled for being selected," he said. "The award I accepted this morning at the State Meet in Ames is an acceptance for all the young ladies in the community and across the country that I had the pleasure to work with.  They are the biggest part of the award."

The Golden Plaque of Distinction Award honors the Iowa coach who has demonstrated a successful career while making notable contributions towards their school, community and coaching profession.

Guinn started the girls' golf program at West Liberty in 1970 and has been the head coach of the program for 44 years. In that span he has compiled a record of 1663-478 with eight state tournament appearances, finishing third five times.

"I have a passion and love for the opportunity to work with the young ladies on our team.  I attempt to make it feel like a family, always working to improve," he said. "I feel that we have established our program as being successful not only as a winning tradition but also as being unique in the opportunities that we maintain."

His West Liberty teams have captured 15 sectional championships, eight regional titles and 17 conference crowns. He also coached the only state championship in any sport at West Liberty when Sara Walker and Matt Guinn teamed up to win the 1991 State Co-Ed Golf title.

Guinn was named the 2009 National Golf Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association and was the NFHS Girls Golf Coach of the Year in 2010. He served 22 years on the IGHSAU Golf Advisory Committee and chaired the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Golf Committee for 10 years.

Greg, who taught at West Liberty for 33 years and served as the school's athletic director for 30, also coached cross country, football, boys' basketball, baseball and softball. Greg and his wife Deb have two sons, Brad and Matt.

However, of all the sports he has been involved with, it all comes back to golf.

"Girls' golf has been and will be my sport of choice," he said. "It is special to me and in our family setting I try to make it special to the kids also. There is a challenge to teaching and coaching and I love the challenge in coaching girls' golf."

While he's honored to receive the recognition, he wanted to say thank you for the support he's received from his wife over all the years. He also thanked Emily Johnson, a volunteer assistant who once played for the team in 1990s.

"Nobody foresees coaching any sport for that length of time. I sure did not," he added. "You have to make a commitment to what you are doing.  The real key is the kids that you coach.  Attempting to instill a work ethic. If you are going to do anything, then do everything you can to be the best."
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