DANVILLE — Mackenzie McCoy wasn’t planning to play college golf.
Her share of 22nd place in last year’s Class 2A Champaign Central Sectional, for all she knew, provided closure to her competitive career in the sport.
Then she watched her brother, Maroon rising senior Justin, competing in summer events and realized she couldn’t be done golfing just yet.
Mackenzie McCoy’s recognition coincided with the start of a women’s golf program at Danville Area Community College.
Turns out the two sides were a perfect match.
“I’m pretty excited to get started,” McCoy said. “I’m excited to see how the program grows this year.”
Jaguar golf is back in 2019, five years after the men’s program was suspended in 2014.
With the return of a men’s program under longtime Bismarck-Henning/Rossville-Alvin golf coach Terry French comes the inclusion of the first DACC women’s squad, helmed by Debbie Toler.
Each team can start workouts Aug. 1, though their respective tournament debuts won’t arrive until later that month.
Both received a boost on Friday through the DACC Golf Outing at Danville Country Club. The one-day, two-session tournament drew nearly 10 foursomes for a morning shotgun start and the maximum 29 quartets for the afternoon tee time, according to French.
McCoy is one of just three currently on Toler’s inaugural roster, joined by Westville graduate Karley Cox and Emma McCormick out of Indiana’s Springs Valley.
“I’ve played golf for over 40 years,” said Toler, an Oakwood graduate who has instructed younger athletes but hasn’t served as a head coach before. “I’ve competed from Day 1, so I have that competitive spirit. I think I can help the girls to achieve that and work on their game.”
French has experienced a little more fortune in the recruiting game, with his roster standing at 10.
It’s entirely composed of local former high school products: Armstrong-Potomac’s Shawn Reardon, Bismarck-Henning’s David Warren and Cade Herriott, Danville’s Andy Bunton and Rylan Wolfe, Hoopeston Area’s Keegan Roark, Oakwood’s Kamden Howard, Rantoul’s Keegan Brooks, Tri-County’s Logan Richardson and Westville’s Nick Pinter.
“It’s been hectic and stressful, but I’ve been blessed,” said French, who will continue to coach BHRA’s golf team and start his 19th season in charge of the Blue Devils next month. “All these kids have come out and contacted me. I really haven’t had to push.”
Toler is hopeful to expand her crew to at least five — enough to post a team tournament score. She said those interested can contact her through danvillejaguars.com.
“They’ll be part of history at Danville Area Community College,” Toler said. “If they’re not right at that level where they were given an opportunity to go to a four-year college, we can work with them and get them to better their game.”
“It’d be a great experience,” McCoy added, “just to be able to be a part of the program.”
One of French’s biggest concerns is balancing work with his DACC and BHRA pupils, the latter of whom he said he just couldn’t give up coaching.
French noted those two teams cannot practice together, so he’ll rely on aid from Toler with the Jaguars and assistant Dave Clapp with the Blue Devils when commitments overlap.
Even with that reality, French already is molding a game plan for his newer group.
“Kids I’ve been with this summer, I’ve preached a lot of short game to work on,” he said. “It’s typical whether it be junior college or high school. They all want to tell me how far they hit it. My standard statement is always, ‘If you can’t get it in the hole, it doesn’t mean anything to me.’”
Hitting the links again
A look at the 2019 schedules for both Danville Area Community College golf programs as the men have a team for the first time since 2014 and the women have a team for the first time ever:
DACC men’s golf schedule
DATE, TIME, EVENT, LOCATION
Aug. 30 8 a.m. RLC Fall Preview West Frankfort
Sept. 7-8 8 a.m. Vinceness Fall Invitational Montgomery, Ind.
Sept. 20 8 a.m. Illinois Valley Fall Invitational LaSalle
Sept. 21 8 a.m. Illinois Valley Fall Invitational Oglesby
Sept. 28 8 a.m. Lewis & Clark Fall Invitational Godfrey
Sept. 29 8 a.m. Millikin Country Club Classic Decatur
Oct. 6 All Day Mid-West Athletic Conference Championships Alton
DACC women’s golf schedule
DATE, TIME, EVENT, LOCATION
Aug. 24 8 a.m. Carl Sandburg Invitational Galesburg
Sept. 14-15 8 a.m. UIS Classic Springfield
Sept. 21-22 8 a.m. Millikin Classic Decatur