Dominic Guarnieri was involved in the University of Findlay golf program for about half of former head coach Al Baker’s 21 seasons at the university.
Guarnieri’s rise to the Director of Golf position at Findlay makes perfect sense, but the St. Marys Memorial grad doesn’t take the opportunity for granted.
“To have your dream job at 30 years old, that’s something amazing,” Guarnieri said.
Guarnieri was named to his new position on Wednesday after he spent last season as Findlay’s first-ever assistant golf coach following three years in the St. Marys boys golf program and as a player at UF.
Guarnieri took on many of the responsibilities of the head coach last season when Baker retired after those 21 seasons. Baker played a big role in his ascendence to the position. “I can’t even describe what he’s meant to my career,” Guarnieri said. “Last year was the most important. Al let me take over a lot of the roles of a head coach and a lot of the time I felt like a head coach. It really helped me know what to expect being a head coach.”
The director of golf role means Guarnieri is in charge of coaching, scheduling, recruiting and budgeting of both the men’s and women’s programs.
Guarnieri began playing golf around the time he was in first grade, playing the short pitch-and-putt Par 3 nine-hole course at the old Celina racquet club.
“My dad got me started and I just fell in love with it,” Guarnieri said.
But it wasn’t until the summer heading into his junior year of high school that he realized just how much of a passion he had for the sport.
“I played high school golf the first couple of years and I was just playing, then that summer from my sophomore to junior year, I really dedicated myself to the game,” he said.
Guarnieri became a standout his final two seasons at St. Marys, eventually moving on to play for Baker at Findlay. As a graduate assistant under Baker, he found his passion for coaching the game and working with fellow golfers.
Guarnieri was an assistant coach at St. Marys for one season under Kurt Kuffner and then coached the Roughriders for two seasons. He said the highlight was helping lead the Riders to the Western Buckeye League tournament championship in his second season.
His time as a high school coach added more experience to his growing coaching resume. “It really helped me know what to look for in a high school golfer I’m recruiting,” he said.
One of the golfers he coached at St. Marys was Michael Schmitmeyer, who will be in his second season as a grad assistant at Findlay next fall. Schmitmeyer was a second-team All-Ohioan at St. Marys and a standout for the Oilers.
“It’s great having him in the program because a lot of the guys on the team have seen him play and know how good he is,” Guarnieri said. “I’ve coached him, played with him, and he’s a great guy to have around.”