WAKEFIELD - Anyone whoever had the chance to compete against Nancy Osier knew they were in for a battle.
After all, the former Bergland and Ewen-Trout Creek High School girls basketball coach posted 582 wins in her career, still an Upper Peninsula record.
Long-time coaching rival Dick Franti of Ontonagon High said Osier's teams were always ready to play.
Nancy Osier poses with the 2011 U.P. Ladies’ Golf Association Senior championship trophy after winning the tournament at Wawonowin Country Club. (Photo courtesy of UPLGA)
"You knew you had better have the shoelaces tied when you played Ewen-TC," said Franti, who recorded his 500th win this past season. "You knew it was going to be intense."
But Osier, who retired from coaching after the 2007-08 season, still has a chance to compete.
Only she does it on the golf course now.
A two-time winner of the U.P. Ladies Golf Association Senior Championship, Osier admits she gives it her best.
"I've always been a competitive person," she said recently. "I guess it's in my DNA."
Growing up in Ironwood, Osier missed the boom of girls' athletics by a few years. But she was there when Title IX legislation in 1972 mandated girls athletics in schools.
She took the head girls' basketball coaching job at Bergland High in 1973 and met a future softball and golfing partner in Mary Paro (Hintze).
"Mary Paro was my first all-U.P. basketball player at Bergland," she recalled. "We got on the same softball team during that time and now she's been my golf partner for several years."
Nancy took up golfing after she noticed her skills as a softball player were eroding.
"Jackie Johnson (a standout athlete at Bessemer) encouraged me to take up the game and I gradually got involved in it," she said. "I wasn't very good to start out, but I worked at it."
"People today tell me I'm pretty good at getting out of trouble in the woods. I tell them I've had a lot of practice."
Golfing out of the Gogebic Country Club, Osier has been a consistent winner at club championships.
She also had the opportunity to get some advice from the late Flossie Strong, a fine golfer from Ontonagon who won several UPLGA championships.
"Flossie Strong was a great golfer and she gave me several tips on how to improve my game," Osier noted. "She was a great lady."
Osier competed in the regular UPLGA tournament, but when she got old enough, decided to concentrate on the senior event.
"There were some very good young golfers coming in," she said. "And today there are some exceptional ones out there. Girls like Zoe Woodworth (of Calumet) and Avery Rochester and Carley Saint-Onge."
The former hoops coach broke through on the UPLGA Senior Championships in 1999 and then won again in 2011 at the tough Wawonowin Country Club.
"Winning at Wawonowin was a especially satisfying because it is such a tough course," she commented.
She will take part in the UPLGA tournament this coming week and then get ready for the association's senior tournament Aug. 7 at the Little River Country Club in Marinette, Wis.
Osier, who resides in Wakefield, said athletics has been very good to her.
"I've had the chance to coach some exceptional athletes, players like Shana DeCremer and Allison Bailey, among many others. And I've gotten to know some very nice people through coaching and the golfing."