Staff & Coaches
Cathy Mendoza – Executive Director
Cathy Mendoza grew up on a farm west of Firebaugh, attended Dos Palos High and graduated from University of the Pacific. Cathy and her husband, Pete, have lived in Modesto since 1985 and have two grown daughters and a granddaughter. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Latino Business Association Foundation, is a past president of the Del Rio CC Foundation Board and past member of the Board of Directors for St. Luke’s Family Practice. Cathy is an active member of the Modesto Rotary Club and Del Rio Country Club; her interests include community service, golf, reading and fitness. One of Cathy’s favorite things about The First Tee is “being surrounded by people who care about youth.”
John Griston – Program & Operations Director
In 2002, John retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of honorable service. He has been involved with The First Tee organization since 2004. He was a volunteer coach and later acheived The First Tee Coach Recognition in 2008. Prior to that, he was a golf professional at Dryden Park and Creekside golf courses from 2003 to 2005. John is currently our recognized Program & Operations Director. He provides leadership and direction to seven (7) program sites and oversees outreach programming with 3 counties. John is also responsible for the golf operations of Modesto Municipal Golf Course. His favorite thing to do is: “Hanging with his fellow coaches while playing golf and watching live sporting events”.
Kayla Deigan (A.k.A – “Super “K”)
Kayla Michele Deigan is a Modesto native, having attended and played golf for Fred C. Beyer High School (2006-2009) and Modesto Junior College (2009-2010). Kayla has been working in the golf industry for over 10 years, starting with volunteering at the junior golf clinics at her local driving range at the age of 16. She worked her way up to management, but knew she wanted to give back to the golf community in another way. The First Tee of Central Valley came in at the perfect time! Becoming ACT Certified, she began coaching the Player level at NorCal Performance Golf Center and became a Level I Lead Coach in 2016. In 2018, Grey went on to become a Level II Lead Coach and became a Certified Golf Coach and Club Fitter with US Kids Golf. Aside from coaching, Kayla also works at Modesto Municipal Golf Course as manager of merchandise and head of golf club sales. Grey currently resides in Modesto with her husband Chad and pit bull, Mac.
Mary Oliver – LPGA Instructor & Recognized Coach
Mary Joined the LPGA in 2001 and became a Class Member in 2006. She then became Assistant Golf Professional at Del Rio Country Club until 2013. She then joined First Tee Staff in 2014. As a First Tee instructor, Mary has completed coaches training Level III. When Mary has free time some of her hobbies include gardening and fishing.
Diane – LEVEL II COACH
Hi, I’m Diane Pohl and I first learned about The First Tee of Central Valley in 2011 when a neighbor was serving as board president. As a retired person, I was searching for purpose in what I could do with my time and wanted to work with an organization in which my contributions would make a difference. The mission of The First Tee mirrors the values I find important and I volunteered as a coach 2013. Helping youngsters grow into confident, responsible, respectful people while teaching them core values and life skills through the game of golf has not only given me greater purpose but has filled my heart in ways I couldn’t have imagined. Through the years, I’ve increased my coaching skills through the First Tee coaching program and am now a Level II coach which means I can conduct programming for children in the Player through Birdie levels. In addition to coaching, I help the executive staff by serving as their volunteer coordinator. Besides my work with The First Tee of Central Valley, I enjoy golfing with friends at my home course, Oakdale Golf & Country Club, spending time with my grandchildren and traveling with husband, Bill.
John Campbell – Recognized First Tee Coach
John C. is a recognized First Tee Coach. He is assigned as Program location site manager for Merced/Atwater. He has built a great relationship with Merced G.C.C and Rancho Del Rey G.C. His favorite things to do is spend time with family and friends. What he loves most about The First Tee is “Incorporating values that will last a lifetime!” John is married to Cheryl and has a son Scotty in The First Tee.
CHARLES SHAMGOCHIAN – Recognized first tee coach
Charles is a recognized First Tee Coach. He is the assistant site manager for Merced/Atwater location. Charles loves spending time at the course and with family members. He is retired and spends alot of his time coaching the kids in the program.
TIM WILLIAMS – recognized first tee coach
Tim is a recognized First Tee Coach. He helps lead Eagle & Birdie level classes. He loves spending time with his two kids and wife Robyn. He is full-time high school teacher and spends alot of his extra time coaching the kids in the program.
shirley GAHM – recognized first tee coach
Shirley is a recognized First Tee Coach since 2006. She enjoys playing golf at Spring Creek and being a part of the ladies club golf group there. She mentors our Eagle certified participants through ACE level to become certified nationally by First Tee Headquarters.