DUNLAP â” Larry Bilger has been enjoying his "semi-retirement." Now he's looking forward to the challenges that will come as the new head boys golf coach at Concord High School.
Bilger replaces Chuck Fowler, who coached the Minutemen boys for the past 20 springs. Concord boys are coming off a 2007 season in which they went 20-4 in dual matches, won the Northern Lakes Conference title and advanced to the IHSAA State Finals. Fowler is still the Concord girls golf coach.
"I told Chuck it's like following Johnny Wooden," said Bilger. "He's had so much success. There's lot of things he has done that I want to continue and I also want to put some of our own wrinkles in. The Northern Lakes Conference is very strong. It will be a challenge every time we go to the links."
Bilger won't have far to go for practices or home matches since he lives adjacent to the Bent Oak Golf Club and plays there "eight days a week."
"I feel like it's a good fit. I'm here everyday. I know a lot of the kids. Now I will get to know all of them. I'm looking forward to getting back with high school kids and coaching golf."
Bilger comes to the Concord program with plenty of coaching experience. He was head golf coach at Memorial High School from 1997-2001, amassing a record of 71-46-1. He also served as head golf coach at Shakamak High School in 1973 and 1974.
During his coaching career, Bilger has also served as a head coach for boys basketball, tennis, cross country, baseball and track.
Bilger is a graduate of Fort Wayne North High School and Franklin College. He holds a master's degree from Ball State University.
Bilger retired as a teacher from Elkhart Community Schools after the 2001-02 school year, but has taught mathematics on an as-needed basis at Bethel College and IUSB.
"We're very pleased to have someone with Mr. Bilger's level of experience fill this position," said Concord athletic director Dave Preheim. "He is a coaching veteran in every sense of the word. Not only does know the sport of golf, but more importantly he understands kids. We are excited to have him as part of our staff."