Janesville73°

Elkhorn's Fisher goes out as an ace

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KENNETH M. VELOSKEY
July 3, 2009
— J.P. Fisher took a job nobody wanted and kept it for 42 years.

The longtime Elkhorn High School boys golf coach recently announced his retirement from the program he has led since 1967. Fisher also coached the Elks' girls golf team for 31 years.


"The golf coach was Gene Conger at the time and he got out of it, and nobody wanted it," Fisher said. "They never had golf at Whitewater where I went to high school, and I didn't play golf in college (Whitewater), I played baseball, but I thought I'd give it a try."


Taking the golf job was a bit of twist since Fisher came to Elkhorn thinking he would eventually become the head boys basketball coach.


Fisher was an assistant to Fred Suchy and was Elkhorn's baseball coach for five years. Fisher retired from teaching at Elkhorn High in 1994.


The golf course became Fisher's court, and he posted a combined career dual meet won-lost record of 460-315. His boys teams went 274-154, while his girls teams were 186-161.


Elkhorn boys golf teams won 15 conference championships and they added 34 tournament titles from 2003 to 2009 under Fisher.


The Elkhorn boys' teams have made three Division 1 state appearances, taking fifth place in 2006 for their best finish.


Bob Entwhistle led the Elks in 2006 carding a 72-69, the lowest state scores for an Elks' player at state and finished fourth. Jordan Lockhart qualified for state three times and was an honorable mention all-state.


Gary Voegel took fifth place in 1989 at Fox Hills in Wisconsin Rapids and Nate Lockhart finished 14th in 2002.


The last Elks' state qualifier under Fisher was sophomore Brock Poggensee last May.


Meanwhile, Elkhorn girls teams under Fisher won five conference titles, including three straight between 1983 and 1985. The Elkhorn girls also won league titles in 1997 and 2003.


Katie Godfrey was an individual state qualifier in 1982, Dorothy Fergeson qualified in 1990, Katie Hommen finished eighth at state in 1997 and was second team all-state, while Sarah Paul was state qualifier in 2002.


Fisher's son, Steve, also a teacher at Elkhorn High, took the girls job from his father.


Golf has been a family affair. Fisher's wife, Karen, was girls golf coach at Whitewater and faced Elkhorn regularly in Southern Lakes duals.


"My wife beat me all the time," Fisher said.


"She had my daughter, Mary Kay, and my nieces and they were all good golfers."


But Fisher got some revenge.


"We went to play Whitewater with just four girls, and they had the best team and we beat them," Fisher said. "My wife said she wouldn't talk to me again."


Fisher's career numbers were positive, but coaching is not about numbers, it's the players that count.


"It's just working with the kids that is fun," Fisher said. "I get a kick of out listening to them when we go home."


And his players remember him.


"Katie Hommen calls me on my birthday every year," Fisher said of Hommen, who is a golf professional in Arizona. "That's kind of neat."


It was difficult for Fisher to leave the Elkhorn program.


"It's just kind of tough," Fisher said. "I'm going to miss it, but I felt it was time."


For 42 years, Fisher had a great time with Elkhorn boys and girls golf.



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