Girls golf: Barrington's Schoeck prepares for one final season of fun
Barrington hall of fame girls coach Jodi Schoeck summed up her coaching career perfectly.
"I guess you could say I have reached the 19th hole," said Schoeck, referring to her final season this fall wrapping up an incredibly successful 32 years. "I am thrilled to be back for one final year with the team that I hold near and dear to my heart."
Her teams have often been among the best in the state, reaching the state tournament 11 times, finishing third in 1996, second in 2016, and second in 2017.
Schoeck entered the IHSA hall of fame in 2007. She was the National Federation of High School's national coach of the year in 2009 and 2013, and earned the same accolade from the National High School Athletic Coaches Association this summer.
Schoeck, who retired from teaching at the end of May after 33 years, got hooked on golf when she began playing her junior year at Rock Island High School.
"I didn't realize back then how much that one decision would chart a path through my life," said Schoeck, who earned a varsity athletic award playing golf for Illinois State University in 1981 and 1982.
In her final two years in Normal, Schoeck volunteered to assist the girls golf team at University High School.
"That experience, coupled with my time competing in athletics, energized me to want to coach," she said. "Taking part on a team, laughing and having fun, and working toward one goal had me hooked on sports from a very young age."
After graduating from ISU, Schoeck managed the Great Lakes Naval Base Golf Course.
While there, she began junior clinics and summer outings for the children of people who worked on the base.
At the time, she hosted a superintendents outing and sent out her resume to local school district personnel.
"I was thrilled to have an interview with Barrington and took the job teaching physical education at Arnett C. Lines Elementary School,' Schoeck said. "At the end of my second year of teaching, the girls golf position opened up."
Barrington athletic director Bob Carpenter hired Schoeck to direct the girls golf team.
"I will always be so grateful to Bob for taking a chance on a 23-year-old teacher who was passionate about golf and so pumped up to coach," Schoeck said. "He gave me the chance of a lifetime."
Schoeck said she learned so much by watching local golf professionals Lee Milligan (Barrington Hills Country Club) and Don Habjan (Makray) teach their students.
"They have always supported junior golf," she said. "I am always calling in favors from former Fillies parents and members of the community. It takes all of us to make this work; we are all in this together."
Schoeck has also coached many sports in the district, including basketball, softball and track at Barrington High School. She has also coached track and volleyball at the middle school level and track, basketball and cross country at Lines School.
No matter the sport, Schoeck's philosophy comes down to two things: the team, and making sure it's having fun.
"Golf is a wonderful game that will make you crazy sometimes, but adding the team concept is what makes these young women shine," she said. "They strive to represent the high school and Fillies golf and do their best to achieve all their goals."
And so many of Schoeck's players excelled in those areas.
Nine of her golfers have finished in the top 10 at state.
And she has had a team or individuals qualify for the state finals in 30 of her seasons.
The Fillies have won five sectional championships, 17 regional championships and 13 Mid-Suburban League titles under her watch.
"Each season is such a special time in and of itself," she said. "You never take the time to think about the end of your career. I am so proud and humbled to have been part of Barrington 220 and the golf team."
Schoeck hardly takes full credit for the Fillies' success.
"Things don't happen because of me," she said. "They happen because of all the coaches from the program, the dedication of those individuals and of the players and families who make a commitment to see our team dreams become reality.
"Our athletic director (Mike Obsuszt) supports all of the coaches, and he allows us to be innovative and to try new things."
Schoeck has tried to be consistent with her approach over the years.
"I want to set our girls up with their best foot forward and trust the process and work on the fundamentals," she said. "Everyone contributes to the success of the team. And my parents and my partner, Lori, have been there every step of the way, supporting me and encouraging the team. Having them at the state tournament the past few seasons has been a thrill."
Just like all the thrilling golf Schoeck has seen in the MSL over the years.
"It's now one of the top conferences in the state," she said "All the conference coaches inspire me everyday, and I will miss the camaraderie between all of us.
"Although new adventures await, I will always be the No. 1 Fillies fan. In these many seasons, the teams and I have been through a lot. Each team has shown what happens when you play together and trust and believe in one another. That's the legacy -- when you do things for others, it all circles back to good things for you."
In retirement, Schoeck's focus will be on cherishing each day as it comes.
"These wonderful players will stay with me forever," she said "I will miss it when I am not with them day in and day out, but I know the lessons we learned together will live on in them. These players have what it takes to be strong for many years to come. It is so exciting to watch, and I have a front-row seat."
With Schoeck in charge the last 32 years, the Fillies rarely had to take a back seat.
"To the extended Fillies golf family, I say a big 'thank you,' " Schoeck said. "I feel so nostalgic and full of celebration for all the wonderful players and families and the memories we have cherished together. The foundation of the team is solid, and I know that this year and in the years to come, there will be record-breaking performances. I have so much gratitude for all the experiences we have been through together.
"I am so blessed and am looking forward to an awesome season with this very special group of players! As Winnie the Pooh said, 'How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.' "