Young athletes and their parents often have vivid memories of the few special shots, passes or runs they are able to share. Justin Fetcho, a senior on the men’s golf team, never takes for granted the four years he played at Eldorado High School in Illinois. He feels fortunate because his father was there to watch his achievements firsthand, as his coach.
“It was great to have my dad as my coach. He knows my swing and my game better than anyone else does,” Justin said. “He could always tell me if something was off in my swing, and it was always nice to know that he was there to make sure I was on the right track.”
His father, Jeff Fetcho, shares the experience. Jeff knows that coaching your children in high school is not an opportunity that every parent gets.”It was certainly a memorable experience for me. He always felt comfortable with me instructing him along the way,” Jeff said. “Many times children don’t listen to their parents, but I’ve learned in an athletic role things can be different. I’ve had the opportunity to coach both my kids. It’s been a blessing for me.”
Jeff also coached his daughter’s high school golf team. Jara Fetcho is now playing golf for a scholarship at John A. Logan College in Illinois, where Justin began his collegiate golf career.
Justin’s father played collegiate golf for two years at Southeastern Illinois College. The family similarities do not end with their love for the game, though. Justin is planning to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in elementary education. His mother, Lisa, is a teacher at Eldorado Middle School and his father is the principal of Hamilton County High School.
“With my mom and dad both being teachers, they kind of steered me in that direction. They are one of the reasons I went into (education),” Justin said.Jara is also planning to major in education.
Justin’s eligibility runs out once the golf team’s season ends in the coming weeks, but he will return to USF in the fall for his final semester. Although he will be able to teach after graduation, Justin plans to chase his lifelong dream of playing golf professionally.
“While I’m going to school in the fall, I’m going to keep working hard and practicing on my game. Then I’m hoping to give the professional qualifying school at least one run,” Justin said. “My No. 1 goal is to play professional golf, but this way I’ll always have my degree to fall back on if it doesn’t work out.”
His father shares the dream with Justin. Jeff envisions himself beside his son on the pro tour.
“I’d like to be able to retire and caddy for him. That’d be a neat dream for me as well,” Jeff said.
Jeff also wants to see his son on the pro tour so that he can use the excuse that a professional beat him. Justin already has his father’s number on the golf course.”He’s got a leg up on me now,” Jeff said. “I don’t get to play as much as I used to. I can stand a chance on our little hometown course, but eight out of 10 times he’s probably going to beat me.”
While Justin is planning for his future, he is now focusing on finishing his career as a Bull on a high note. His parents will be able to attend his next two scheduled tournaments, including the Big East Conference Championship in Louisville, Ky.Many athletes become absorbed with fulfilling personal goals when approaching the closing stages with a team, but Justin’s vision of a perfect ending is far from selfish.
“I’d really like our team to win the Big East Conference Championship so we could move on to the East Regionals. That would be so sweet,” Justin said.