Mike Gardner approaching half century coaching

Former Eastwood and Bowling Green State University athlete and longtime Eastwood coach Mike Gardner is in his 49th season of coaching golf this year — one year away from a half century.

His golf teams have accumulated a 553-187 record, and in tournaments are an incredulous 2,671-1,772. 

During his nearly half century run as golf coach, there have been 13 league championships, all in the Suburban Lakes League, four trips for the team to the state finals, and several individuals to the state finals.  

Gardner was elected to the Ohio High School Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1992.  He won the prestigious Burt Silverman Memorial Award in 2016.  He is the past president of the Northwest District Golf Coaches Association.  Gardner presently serves on the Ohio High School Golf Coaches Association executive committee and serves as a rules official at the state golf tournament.

Gardner can be seen on a near-daily basis at Eastwood’s home course, Tanglewood, in Dowling, cutting the greens and setting hole positions. He has continued to work there for 59 years as a greens keeper on the course and at times in the pro shop. His late father, Dallas, was a charter member at Tanglewood and a former Eastwood Schools superintendent who was also a three-sport standout athlete at Ashland University.

Mike was inducted into the Eastwood Alumni Association’s Eagle Way Hall of Fame at a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Pemberville Post 183 American Legion Hall. But it wasn’t just for his golf — it was for his overall career as an athlete and teacher.

Gardner holds the most varsity letters (13) in Eastwood history, was an Eastwood educator for 41 years, and for 34 years has been the Eastwood basketball scorekeeper. He is a 1968 graduate.

Athletically in high school, Gardner earned five varsity letters as a senior, participating in football, basketball, baseball, golf and track. He earned first team all-league in four sports as a senior.  

Gardner was the quarterback on the 1966 football team, which was Eastwood’s first league champion in football, finishing 8-1 and taking the Northern Lakes League title.  He was the point guard on the 1966-67 basketball team that finished 22-1.  He had an earned run average well below 1.00 as a pitcher in his two years playing baseball.  

As a senior, Gardner became the first golfer in school history to advance to the state tournament by shooting a 72 at the district tournament.  Also, he was the first football player from Eastwood to be inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame.

At BGSU, he received his bachelor’s degree in 1972 and his master’s degree in 1978.  He majored in health and physical education and minored in mathematics.  Gardner went to BGSU on a baseball and academic scholarship. 

“However, once he realized he ‘couldn’t hit a curveball and couldn’t throw a fastball,’ he tried out and joined the golf team for his junior and senior years,” his Eastwood half of fame biography states.  

The BGSU golf team was Mid-American Conference champions in 1972, his senior year. Gardner also was a starter on BGSU’s freshman basketball team.

After graduation in 1972, Gardner landed a teaching position in the Eastwood School District.  During his 41-year teaching career, he taught elementary physical education at Luckey, Lemoyne, Pemberville and Webster schools at one time or another with 2012-13 being his last year.  He says his basic philosophy was to introduce many different activities to the students and have them realize that exercise and movement can be fun and rewarding.

Gardner was also Eastwood’s junior high football coordinator for two years.  He coached basketball for 38 years, including junior high girls and all levels of boys, including head varsity coach.  

To stay active Gardner still enjoys running, exercising, golfing, bowling and shooting free throws.  He has run in four marathons (Columbus, Washington D.C., Cincinnati and New York City).  He finally shot his age in golf last summer as he fired a 67 at Tanglewood at age 69.

The other thing that has been a passion for Gardner over the years is attending his children’s many activities.  Now that continues to be enjoyable, but it’s the next generation (grandchildren) that have kept him busy, Gardner says.

Gardner was born on December 22, 1949 in Ashland, Ohio to Dallas and Velma Gardner.  They moved to the Eastwood District in 1957 and lived in Pemberville and Luckey. Mike attended Eastwood Schools from second grade through his graduation in 1968. He has six siblings (Pat, Sandy, Randy, Linda, Gary and Connie) who graduated from Eastwood.  Mike has continued to live in the Eastwood District his entire life.

While attending Eastwood High School some of the non-athletic activities that Mike was a member of were chorus, National Honor Society, projectionist, Buckeye Boys State, the quiz bowl team, and president of the student council. 

Mike married his high school sweetheart (Judy Hagemeyer) in 1972.  Among other jobs, Judy worked at the law offices of Davies, Ruck and Wright for 25 years, retiring in 2015.

Mike and Judy have one daughter, Amy, and two sons Bryan and Chris, who all graduated from Eastwood. Amy and Bryan then graduated from Bowling Green State University and Chris from Clemson University.  Amy has been a third grade teacher in the Otsego Schools for 19 years.  She is married to Andy Luidhardt, who has worked at Gearhart Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, Inc. as their sales manager for 20 years.  He also farms with his father and brother.  They have one daughter, Kaitlyn, a sophomore at Eastwood High School.  They also have two sons, Drew, a sixth grader at Eastwood Middle School and Brayden, a fourth grader at Eastwood Elementary.

Bryan has worked for Henkel Corporation for 15 years.  He is now the supply chain director for all of North America.  His wife, Katharina, also works for Henkel Corporation as a demand planner.  They presently live in Stamford, Connecticut, but they have lived and worked in three different countries.  They are expecting their first child in February, 2020.

Chris is the head golf professional at Bluestone Country Club near Philadelphia.  He is in his fifth year in that position.  His wife, Emily, is the media coordinator and graphic designer at Llanerch Country Club.  They have one daughter, Ellie, who is two years old.








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