High School Sports

Polites recognized for success with Althoff golf team

Golf coach Dan Polites received the 2018 Gateway PGA Section Horton Smith Award for Education.
Golf coach Dan Polites received the 2018 Gateway PGA Section Horton Smith Award for Education. BND File

Althoff High School boys golf coach Dan Polites has been elected to Illinois Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

One of four members of the Illinois Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2018, Polites, 52, was inducted May 18 at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington.

“It (the Hall of Fame induction) is part of the Illinois Golf Coaches Association Conference that they have every year. It’s a very nice facility, and I can’t tell you how honored I am to join this elite group of coaches,” Polites said. “I was told that my good friend, former O’Fallon coach Dan May, was the one who nominated me.

“To me Dan, is the ultimate golf coach and gentleman. To have him nominate me is an honor in itself.”

Polites actually began his coaching career with the Crusaders in 1992 when he served as an assistant head coach with Jim Karwoski.

The Crusaders made three state tournament appearances from 1992 to 1994 with a group of players which included Class A state champion Tim Riley and former University of Arizona players Jill Gomric and Scott Moore.

But since taking over the program in 2002, Polites and the Crusaders have done well. Under Polites, Althoff has recorded a dual match mark of 255-101 and won 33 tournament championships.

Included among those wins are seven regional championships, three sectional championships and back-to-back Class 2A state championships in 2011 and 2012.

Althoff has made seven state tournament appearances since 2002.

“You can’t be successful as a golf coach unless you have talented players who are willing to put the time in with working on their games. Then when you add that they are all really good kids ... I’ve been truly blessed to be the golf coach here at Althoff,” Polites said. “I’ve been asked what the best team was that I’ve coached at Althoff.

“The one with Jill (Gomric), Tim Riley and Scott Moore was awfully good and then the two state championship teams were great as well. The one which set the tone for our success though I think was the one which placed third in state in 2010. Ever since that time, there has been a certain comfort level when we’ve gotten to the state tournament and we’ve played well.”

Polites has also been the Belleville News-Democrat Coach of the Year six times since 2002. Those who have played under Polites haven’t had a lot of rules to follow. In fact there are really only two requirements that Polites has for his players each season.

“I ask my players to always give me 100 percent on every shot. If they do that and shoot 95 of if they shoot 70. It doesn’t matter. Just never quit trying and always give me your best effort,” Polites said. “My second rule is never cheat. Like I said, I’ve been blessed.”