Over a decade ago, Madison alum Arielle Cherry helped out as an assistant coach with Madison’s golf team but with two kids under three, being a mother, running a business and coaching were just one responsibility too many so she gave up the coaching for a time.
Fast forward to the 2019 golf season, Madison head golf coach Erick Wills reached out to Cherry and asked her to be his assistant. She accepted, excited for the opportunity.
Months later, Wills told Cherry he was planning on retiring from his coaching responsibilities and that he thought she should apply for the position. Cherry called the school and told them she would like the job.
“I called and told them I would love the job if you’re willing to let me,” Cherry said. “They said, ok, we have some other things we have to take care of. We’ll call you back in a week. A week went by and they said they’d love to have me.”
Madison athletic director, Shane Proctor said, Cherry’s experience and familiarity with the program made her the obvious choice.
“When coach Coach Wills decided to step down, with Arielle already being on staff it was just a seamless transition for her to be able to step in,” Proctor said. “She knows the kids and knows what’s needed. Her experience is really good.”
Cherry looks like a natural fit. She grew up in Rexburg where she golfed for Madison under coach Mitch Buck, who currently coaches the football team and coach Kelly Thompson and won an individual state championship. After graduating high school in 2000, she golfed at Weber State for two years then Idaho State for two years where she placed second in the Big Sky Conference golf tournament.
Cherry and her husband run Mother Hibbard’s gas station on the corner of 15th West and W and owned Blister’s Barbeque inside the store before selling it recently.
The new coach joked that she doesn’t have much coaching experience unless you include coaching her employees. She has a lot of that.
Several things drew Cherry toward coaching Madison.
“Golf has taught me and provided me with a lot of things in my life,” Cherry said. “It taught me a lot of lessons, it provided me with free college and that provided me with awesome opportunities for work. I felt like it was my turn to give back. I love giving back to the kids and watching them grow and succeed and giving them something that they can be confident in themselves in and that can overflow into other areas of their life and just help them to succeed.”
Proctor is excited to see Cherry run the show as head golf coach.
“I’m just excited,” Proctor said. “She’s really excited and a go-getter. She’s trying to get the kids excited about playing golf. Not just playing but teaching them the sport and the rules and things like that. Making it a lifelong sport and not just a high school sport that they’ll be done with when they graduate like a lot of other sports.”