Darrell Hull loves his job as the Coeur d’Alene High boys golf coach. That’s one of the reasons he’s giving it up.
He’s been informed by his conscience that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to be a dad with two daughters, an assistant golf pro at ever-busy Prairie Falls and devote the time necessary to continue coaching.
With equal parts pride and dread, Hull is counting down the days to the 5A State Tournament on Monday and Tuesday at the Coeur d’Alene Golf Club, the same track that saw the Vikings post a 4-over par team total to capture the regional title Wednesday.
“It’s going to kill me,” Hull said. “It’s one of those things that when I first got the job (in 1999) it was a dream job and something I wanted to do and I felt like I gave it 100 percent.
“The last year, year and a half, it hasn’t been 100 percent and that gets to me. It’s coming to an end now, that really gets to me.”
Hull readily admits if he could make a living coaching, he would. He can’t. He also readily admits that without the support of Prairie Falls pro Tim Morton and the course ownership, he would have never experienced the thrill of coaching. Under Hull, the Vikings have won two state titles and haven’t finished worse than a tie for second. The day after CdA’s regional title, Hull received congratulations from roughly 35 Prairie Falls regulars.
“It’s just real time consuming and my job at the golf course is getting more and more involved,” said Hull, whose workload was alleviated some this year by the addition of Bryan Duncan as co-coach. “People are finding out about us and they want to come out and play and that makes it real exciting and fun.”
And busy. Hull’s job description includes “a little of everything,” ranging from club-fitting to making club sandwiches.
“He works his 40-50 hours a week, teaches his 15-20 hours and then he’s with the kids,” said Morton, whose son, Ryan, is a senior on the Viking team. “His days are real long, but his personality never changes. He’s always positive and good with people. My boy tells me the kids just love him.”
A recent week details Hull’s time commitments. Monday: worked the morning, tournament at CdA Golf Club in the afternoon, returned to Prairie Falls to give lessons. Tuesday: Prairie Falls tournament prevented him from making Vikings practice. Wednesday: worked the morning, match at Prairie Falls, taught lessons, arrived home roughly 9 p.m. Thursday: worked the morning, missed CdA practice because it was opening day of Prairie Falls’ men’s league. Friday: departed at 5:30 a.m. for prep tourney in Colville, met wife for late dinner, arrived home at 10:30 p.m. Saturday: opened Prairie Falls at 5 a.m.
Hull wears a CdA High golf vest, but his coaching reach extends to virtually every school in the area. He’s tutored countless juniors without accepting compensation. He says it’s his way of giving back because “I remember what it was like to be a junior golfer. My first pro was Dave Lowe (whose son, Taylor, is a sophomore on the CdA varsity) and he took me aside and told me I could be a good player if I set my mind to it.”
“There’s not a more giving soul in the world of golf,” Lake City coach Kent Scanlon said. “He helps anyone who has a need. He wants everybody to play their best and get the best out of the game. He worked with one of my kids for 5-8 minutes just before the (regional) the other day.”
CdA players say Hull treats everyone the same, from the top players to the freshmen. Hull, naturally, scolds himself for not being able to spend more time with the players.
“He’s worked with me since I was in fifth grade,” Ryan Morton said. “He’s been great to all of us. He’s doesn’t single out any one person. He helps out JV players with their swings. It’s not biased. Everything’s equal.”
Hull doesn’t play golf when his team is practicing or in a match.
“If the kids can’t see me, if I’m not visible, I feel like I’m doing a disservice to them. I can play other times,” said Hull, though he rarely doesHull hopes to volunteer coach next year, perhaps “helping all the teams in the league by doing whatever I can,” he said.