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After seven years at the helm in Scappoose, Joe Girres hopes to resume a teaching and coaching career in Wyoming.

COURTESY PHOTO: JIMMY EDMONDS - Joe Girres, along with his daughter, Siena. Joe Girres, longtime girls golf coach at Scappoose High School, will soon be leaving the Pacific Northwest for the wide-open spaces of Wyoming.

Girres resigned as the girls coach in June, after serving in that position for seven years and having taught physical education at Otto Petersen Elementary School.

As he leaves for his new adventure in life, hoping to eventually teach and coach in Wyoming, Girres looked back at his experience in Scappoose and fellow golfers he has met along the way.

Girres had glowing words for Dave Lawrence, boys golf coach at rival St. Helens High School. On the side, Lawrence maintains a free driving range alongside Grace Baptist Church in Warren, which is open to anyone.

"There is an acreage that is on the side of the church," Girres said. "He does an amazing job of taking care of the facility, watering the green they've developed and providing golf balls. The only thing a youth or an adult would need to bring are their own golf clubs. … Dave mows, he fertilizes, he gets things ready for the golf season. I can't stress enough what an amazing opportunity he has given to the community of Columbia County."

The driving range is used by both the Scappoose and St. Helens high school golf teams.

Girres is also grateful to his Lions counterpart, Jared Phillips, the girls golf coach at St. Helens High, as well as Kyle Hanke, the golf pro at Wildwood Golf Course.

"When it comes to a second option of hitting golf balls, putting or actually playing the game, Wildwood is the only option in Columbia County currently," Girres said. "Hanke is always looking and willing to help the youth. He realizes how important the youth are to the game and how important they are to the future of golf courses in general."

Girres has coached a lot of aspiring golfers during his years at Scappoose High School.

"I was blessed to have such wonderful young ladies that played in the program, and that goes from day one until the day I resigned," Girres said. "The smiles on their faces, the agony, the defeat, the triumphs — I'll remember all of it."

Girres continued, "It just puts a huge smile on my face to talk about them, to have them cross my path, hear about them and know what they're doing. … I was the lucky one for sure."

Girres is looking forward to settling in Wyoming.

"We decided that that was a great landing spot for us, and we're really excited about the opportunity," he said.

As to who will become the new girls golf coach at Scappoose High School, Girres is not saying.

"I'm somewhat excited that they are going to replace myself with a very good golf coach," he said. "I won't say the name because nothing is official. I'm excited for the girls program."

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