Prep Sports

Chris James enjoys family, basketball and, of course, golfing

HS journalism: Linn-Mar coach is one of the top players in Metro

Linn-Mar Coach Chris James talks to Tori Niemeyer during the 2019 CRANDIC tournament at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralvil
Linn-Mar Coach Chris James talks to Tori Niemeyer during the 2019 CRANDIC tournament at Brown Deer Golf Club in Coralville. James also coaches the Lions’ boys’ team and the Washington girls’ basketball team and is one of the top golfer in the Cedar Rapids-Marion area. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — To many, Chris James has his priorities in the right order.

James is a husband, father, teacher and coach.

He also is a very good golfer.

A third grade teacher at Linn-Mar’s Indian Creek Elementary for the past seven years, James also is the head boys’ and girls’ golf coach at Linn-Mar High School. He also is the head girls’ basketball coach at Cedar Rapids Washington.

He enjoys golfing himself and competes in multiple tournaments each summer. The Cedar Rapids City Am is something he looks forward to every year.

“Growing up playing these courses since I was 12 years old, it’s definitely a special tournament for me,” said James, who has won four City Am titles and placed sixth at the 2020 event last weekend.

A “normal” summer for James would mean roughly 30 to 40 rounds of golf. This summer, he’s shot about 10 rounds. So, the 75 he shot last Friday at Gardner Golf Course isn’t all that bad.

He wished he would’ve shot better, but considering he’s making big swing changes, it wasn’t all that disappointing.

James said his putting, typically a strong area, wasn’t working for him in the first round. He wishes he would have made more putts and said he needs to work on his consistency and having more confidence.

He came back with rounds of 71 and 73 at Ellis Golf Course on Saturday and Sunday.

James is hoping to play in the CRANDIC Tour Championship in September and get invited to the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Ryder Cup event. He’s qualified for the Ryder Cup for 13 straight years.

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He’s also getting ready for the boys’ golf season and enjoys coaching at both schools. James can’t pick a favorite sport to coach, but he said “you can’t simulate basketball game nights, adrenaline pumping, being in the moment.”

James’ basketball team suffered a few costly injuries last season, but “I like the girls that we have coming in.”

His girls’ golf teams have finished seventh, sixth and third in the state tournament and he coached one of the boys, Dillon Burr, to a state individual title last fall.

When he’s not golfing or coaching, James enjoys spending time with his wife, Laura, and 18-month old son Maddux.

“I enjoy spending the summers off,” he said. “I get to spend time with my family.”

His brother, sister and parents all live within a two-mile radius, making spending time with them much easier. He and his family try to enjoy the summer outside as much as possible.

They like fishing, hiking, biking and, of course, golfing,

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