Athletic Success from Unlikely Source: Coach Gray Weighs In on Why His Golf Team is so Successful


Tim Cansler

Titan Golf Team After Win Aginst LHS.

Nathan Neubauer, Contributor

At Tuscarora High School, just like every school in our county, athletic success in the eyes of the community and students is recognized by the performance of the school’s football, basketball, soccer and lacrosse teams. However, there are many other sports that bring athletic success. At Tuscarora, one of the sports that has brought our school recent success is the golf team. As little as two years ago, this was not the case. Now, the Titan golf team has a 5-1 record and has defeated county powerhouses Middletown and Linganore. Coach Bradley Gray, a golf coach at Tuscarora for 15 years, said, “There’s no better teaching experience than to play and we’ve had very small senior classes up until this year so that means all of the players are playing from freshman year all the way until their senior years. This group has been playing together for a while and they like playing together. They are extremely self motivated. That’s the reason for the team’s turnaround.” Through Gray’s new coaching philosophy, senior leadership and high goal setting has led to a winning culture throughout the Tuscarora golf program.

Bradley Gray- Golf Coach at Tuscarora

When Coach Gray was asked about his coaching philosophy, he said, “This year it has changed. I haven’t had to do nearly as much hands-on work with the players. I’ve been more of a facilitator as opposed to an instructor. I try to get us access to the facility and I let the players come to me with issues.” Gray finds this new approach a key reason for the team’s success. He trusts his players to go out on the course and perform.  

Gray’s definition of success for his program has gone relatively unchanged throughout his tenure as golf coach. Gray said, “I want to make sure that we are good stewards of the golf course. I want to make sure we keep getting invited back to Worthington Manor. They’re happy that we’re there and I think that and the head pro certainly has been pretty receptive to us being there. Another part of our success is most of the guys are shooting numbers that I think are reasonable for where their skill levels are doing. When my players are playing to their potential, we can beat any team in this county.” So far this season, Titan golfers are living up to this definition. Golfers such as Griffin Cansler, Brody Taylor and Ryan Thomas have all had exceptional starts to the year. Cansler, Taylor and Thomas all have sub-40 nine hole rounds this season in matches. Behind these exceptional rounds, golfers such as Hayden Taylor, Nate Neubauer and Cam Vachon have all contributed rounds to the overall team scores. These performances have been key to the Titans strong start.

Cansler Sinks Putt En Route to a +2 38.

Gray set one goal for his players this season; to make the state tournament. Gray knows his players are capable of achieving this goal. The team just finished fourth in the Central Maryland Conference (CMC) championship at Black Rock Golf Course, which also is the host of the district tournament. In golf, the district tournament is the most important, it is the ticket to the state tournament. In order to qualify for states, the Titan golf team will only have to improve by one shot from their score at CMCs. Gray told his players after the CMC tournament, “We are only one shot away, all of you left shots out there on the course today. We have one month to fix things before districts. I believe that our goal is truly attainable.” 

When Coach Gray was asked about his seniors and what will be missed when they leave the program, he had an answer right away. Gray said, “My seniors have done so much for our program. They have all grown so much since their freshman year. They have done an absolutely outstanding job in terms of communicating throughout the program. They know what they want their senior season to look like and they’re doing things to get the outcome they want.” The three starting seniors, Thomas, H. Taylor, and Neubauer have been through plenty of ups and downs. They have seen the program go from two wins in their first two seasons to now having a chance at their first state championship appearance. 

Coach Gray has one message for the Tuscarora community regarding his golf team, “We never expect fans to come to our matches because we compete off campus. However, despite this team being in the shadow of the athletic fandom of other sports, this golf team is one for the whole Tuscarora community to be proud of. They work very hard and have earned every bit of success they’ve gotten.” Golf is not a well known sport here at Tuscarora. However, if the Tuscarora community wants to find athletic success, sometimes they have to look in unlikely places.