Glenn Patrick recently announced his intention to step down as Midway boys golf coach following the 2022 season.
DUNN — Caden Hodges and his Midway golf teammates received the news just a week before their home opener.
Ahead of the Feb. 22 preseason scrimmage against Triton at Chicora Golf Club, Hodges and company learned that storied Raiders coach Glenn Patrick was stepping down at the conclusion of the season.
"Everybody was not happy, especially the ones that still have more years to come," said the four-year player during Midway's season opener at Sandy Ridge Country Club on Monday.
"I am lucky enough that I am a senior, so it's not like I'm (playing) another year without him. ..."It's all a big, sad situation ... but we gonna make the best of it. Whatever happens, happens."
Taking the helm in 2016, following a two-year stint at Midway Middle School, Patrick set the bar high from Day 1 and immediately got results in return.
The Raiders have earned four straight conference championships, three regional titles and were crowned state champs in 2018.
"He's a leader, that's for sure. He's not gonna take any crap. If you're out here just joking around, he'll send you to the house in a heartbeat," Hodges said.
"Sometimes it is a little frustrating when everybody wants to have fun, but at the end of the day, we're out here to handle business. And when (practice) is over, he's as fun as can be."
Along the way, Patrick also coached a pair of state runner-up teams and guided his son, Logan, to back-to-back individual state titles.
With Hodges' fellow senior classmates being the final remnants of those squads, Patrick recognized this year as the appropriate opportunity to bow out gracefully.
"It's time. I've accomplished a lot. I've done what I wanted to do. ... It's been a pleasure," he said.
"These guys bought into the program ... sometimes we leave off this green and it's dark."
Patrick was still in rare form Monday, spryly getting his 10-member squad charged for its first match as members of the Southeastern Athletic Conference. The Raiders responded by finishing in a familiar spot, topping Clinton, Fairmont, Red Springs, East Bladen and West Bladen with a total score of 310.
Logan Atkins took medalist honors in the opener, besting the field with a 5-under 67. Hodges was close behind, shooting a 1-under 71– an ideal start for what he hopes is a memorable final season.
"I definitely want to make it end on a good year. We got to capitalize," Hodges said.
"We work the hardest, I feel like, out of anybody around. So, I feel like the hard work will eventually pay off in the end. I know we're gonna have a great, fun year. Just enjoy the times– the last ride."
As for Patrick, adding yet another league title in a brand new conference is the focus now. In a couple of months, he hopes to better the Raiders' second-place finish at states a year ago– making for an indescribable send-off.
"I couldn't ask for nothing better. To go out like that, man, that'd be the best thing in the world. Especially with these guys right here, as hard as they work," he said.
Donnell Coley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-230-2040.