Jon Sheridan graduated from Lawrence in 2011 as a three-year member of the Men’s Hockey team. He went on to coach for the club hockey team at the University of Ohio before returning to Lawrence as the head coach of the men’s golf team and an assistant coach for the men’s hockey team. I recently sat down to talk with him about returning to Lawrence, the golf team’s fall season and the prospects of the young hockey season.
Do you think being a Lawrence graduate, having been in the same shoes as your players, will help you as a coach?
I think so. I can relate to a lot of them. It’s been almost five years since I’ve been out so I kind of still know a lot of professors and kind of what they’re going through with the academic rigor … Then as far as the program goes, coaching under Coach Szkodzinski I know what he wants from his guys so I can relay the message even more.
How did the fall season for golf go?
We won the first two invites: the St. Norbert invite and then the invite we hosted. We won those back to back and that was the first time since 2004 that we’ve won back to back invitationals, so that was huge.
The golf team has been playing tremendously we have a great group of guys that want to push themselves and they want to be better…They push each other but not in a negative way, they make each other better by just being who they are…They’re always out working on something when they get the chance. They kind of have free reign over practice, and they’re always going and doing it.
Golf’s a unique college sport because you have a huge break in between the fall and spring season. Is there anything that needs to be changed between the two halves of the season?
If we could change the weather that would be nice, so we could play more. I know in the past that Chris Burns has allowed the guys to go out to Burns Golf out there and work in their indoor driving range and simulators, which is nice for the guys.
We’ve been talking about maybe doing a spring trip early on so that we can get some rounds in before the spring season starts.
What do you do at a golf match as the coach? Do you drive around on a golf cart to try to see as many of your golfers as you can?
Basically I’m an enabler, so whatever they need, a snack, a drink, or whatever, I’ll fetch it for them just so I can enable them to play the best round they can. Normally our guys are “stacked” so one guy will play on the eighteenth hole, and then another on 17, and 16 and on down.
So what we like to do is watch the first hole and see what guys are doing and then we try to relay messages on down. So then our last guy coming through kind of knows where guys are putting the ball and good lies and stuff like that. It’s really just a lot of driving around on a golf cart and watching guys play golf, which isn’t half bad.
So now you’re transitioning into hockey season. How do you expect that to go?
We’re excited for this year. We had an inter-squad game this past weekend and the guys did great. We have a good group of upper-class leadership with some under-class talent. I think it’s going to be cultured quite nicely. In the locker room the guys are great.
I think they’re all pretty good friends with each other, there really aren’t any cliques. All that is extremely helpful with hockey being a team sport. I know the guys have high expectations for themselves, and if they didn’t that would be more worrisome than anything else. Practices so far have been awesome.
They’re working their tails off whether it be in the weight room, dry-land, or on the ice. We have a lot of inter-squad competition, just like golf, guys just wanting to do the right thing for each other. So going in to the games this weekend a lot of guys are going to have the chance to showcase what they have, and we’re excited for that.