(click on coach's name to read more about them)

GIRLS (Spring)
BOYS (Fall)
1 - Larry Harte, Warren Mott 1 - Barb Lehmann, Plymouth Canton

2 - Jared Crandell, Byron Center

2 - Nancy Martin, Portage Central
3 - Kim Bartz, Edwardsburg

3 - Steve Herdoiza, Cranbrook

4 - Wayne Asher, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central 4 - Dave Fredette, Armada
4 - Greg McManus, Whitehall

GIRLS (Spring)
Larry Harte, Warren Mott - Division 1

Larry Harte would be the first (and actually, he was) to protest his selection as 2018 Division 1 statewide Coach of the Year. After all --- as he pointed out at last June’s board meeting --- among those Regional Coaches of the Year in Division 1 division was the leader of the state champion. In fact, his Warren Mott teams rarely advances to the final tournament – or even to get past a semifinal at the regional, for that matter -- thanks to Grosse Pte South, and Troy High School and always competitive Troy Athens. “Those three should get the acknowledgement of the award,” he says.

But board members brushed aside his assertions, one even good naturedly telling him to shut up. That’s because they so appreciate his contributions to his school’s tennis program, his conference, his county tennis association, and our state-wide association, much of it occurring since his last Coach of the Year award in 1994.

Larry’s service goes beyond coaching his high school teams. For 24 years, he has run the Sterling Hgts. Parks and Recreation summer tennis lessons program along with monitoring the end-of-season city tournament. He has been a member of the Macomb County Tennis Coaches Association since its inception in 1988. He became its historian (“because I am a dinosaur”) and has attended every post season meeting. He is responsible for writing the program booklet for their banquets, a version of this publication.

Larry has been a board member from District 7 of the MHSTeCA since 1996 and has missed our meetings only once. He has attended our clinics since 1987, “trying to update my knowledge.” He has taken his players to U of M and recently was able to ask questions of NCAA champion Brienne Moore “for a memorable learning experience.” He conducts Regional Coach of the Year balloting and when Ed Waits mistakenly sends balloting materials to someone else, they turn it over to him because he does such a good job. He does his job with quiet, genial, self-effacing humor. There is always a smile.

Furthermore, he writes a program of sorts for each home match similar to what the colleges’ sports information directors do to keep parents who cannot attend the contest current on the progress of the season. There is an opponent’s hospitality table at the dual meets and after each match, a challenge in which players get to serve two balls at a Little Caesar’s box targets: the prize is a gift certificate for a freebie.

Several years ago, this Coach of the Year took his talents to Warren DeLaSalle where he helped out their program as an assistant coach. “Larry is the best,” exalts then-coach Jake Jones. “He is incredibly knowledgeable about the game and absolutely loves  tennis. He does things on the court that people half his age would never dream of. He is always willing to stay after practice – or create a new practice – for any player. He has shown a proclivity to watch and support our players in their various other extracurricular activities and has been a regular at the school’s various honors banquets and graduations.”

In other words, this is a coach who has continually given back both as a leader and as a mentor.

“I worked with Larry for just a few years but he has been an icon in Macomb County tennis for decades,” says Jake. “In my eyes, he is the epitome of what it means to be a great coach.”

Description & Image to be posted at a later date.

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GIRLS (Spring)
Jared Crandell, Byron Center - Division 2

Last spring, Jared Crandell enjoyed the best win total since becoming the girls coach at Byron Center. “It is definitely the most success we have had since moving to Division 2,” he says.

It wasn’t just the 12 wins. As always, it’s a matter of competition, particularly against established programs. “Our most significant win was against Holland Christian, 5-3,” he says. “We have never beaten them -- as far as I can find, or as far as Jon Knoester can remember-- and we usually measure success against them by how many games we could win, or considered it a huge success if we could win one flight.”

Another turning point in the 2018 campaign was the dual against Forest Hills Northern. “Although we came away with a 8-0 loss to Northern, we were competitive in several flights,” he says. As for the match against Grand Rapids Catholic Central, the Bulldogs tied in a good match. “I think this allowed us to believe that we could compete in our conference and with traditionally good teams,” he concludes.

He was right. His girls were second to Zeeland East in the conference --- tied for first in head-to-head matchups but third in the conference tournament. “It was close but we did not have a good day and Zeeland East won all of the key matches,” he says.

Regionals were a different story. “We played exceptionally well, pulling off four upset wins along the way,” he says. “Our last match of the day was at 1st doubles against Portage Central. A win in that match would have given us a tie for the regional title but we had to settle for 2nd place. But since we were going to the D2 state tournament for the first time in school history, we were not that disappointed.”

Indeed, in his 11 years as the girls coach at Byron Center, Jared hasn’t often experienced this kind of exhilaration, especially against established and honored programs such as Holland Christian and Portage Central. “We are usually in the middle of the pack looking up at Holland Christian (who usually wins our conference) and Zeeland East,” he says.

Growing up in Wisconsin, Jared attended a small Christian high school where there was no tennis team; therefore he played recreationally. But he went to Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids because he wanted to be a teacher and a coach. “I played basketball which was my passion,” he says. “But the tennis team needed players so I joined it for two years and fell in love with the game.”

In this very small world, Jared’s tennis coach at Cornerstone was present-time Grand Rapids South Christian’s Chuck Pothoven (also a current MHSTeCA board member). “Twenty five years ago, I coached tennis there for five years,” he says. “At that time Jared was a standout basketball player, one of the best scorers in Michigan collegiate history. He was good enough to play in our [tennis] lineup but what I remember best about him is that he did not arrive with the ego of a star basketball player. He was totally committed to being a team player and to enjoy competing.”

Clearly, he has passed the passion on. Jared, who teaches Honors World History and AP U.S. History, only coached the boys tennis and basketball teams. But the change in seasons in 2008 meant a conflict for the then-girls coach. A group of girls asked him to step in that spring.

Eleven years later, they work under a Girls State Coach of the Year. “Coach Crandell always has his team prepared, and the girls are very nice on the court which is a reflection of his leadership,” says Paul Bentley. “We at Hudsonville play them early in the year and later in the year, and I always see improvement from every girl on the team. Jared is a great coach, and well deserving of this honor.”

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GIRLS (Spring)
Kim Bartz, Edwardsburg - Division 3

 Growing up in Osceola, Indiana, Kim Bartz was a superb athlete… basketball. She was so good that she went on to play on the varsity at St. Mary’s College all four years. Meanwhile, her parents were avid tennis players which prompted lessons. As a result, she played tennis in high school and made it to the Indiana state tournament her senior year.

In that Edwardsburg isn’t far away from the Notre Dame community, Kim was hired directly out of college to teach math and coach the JV basketball team. At the time, the high school only fielded a boys team but girls were allowed to play on it. However, girls tennis was becoming more and more popular in that conference. Having assisted on the boys team for the previous two years  --  coupled with her experience as a high school player and a basketball coach-- she was hired to start the girls program. That was 23 years ago.

Even though Edwardsburg is a small rural community with a high school of approximately 850 students, Kim fields a full varsity and JV squad, something that many Division 3 and 4 schools struggle to do these days. Moreover, it has to compete with perennial power Allegan and standout Sturgis. The Eddies usually finish third in the conference.

That third place finish happened again in the spring of 2018 but accompanied by what Kim labels as “an unexpected surprise.” Six seniors had graduated, one returning varsity player decided not to play, and another returning player was involved in a serious accident resulting in her missing the season. Thus, there were only four returning players with eight other varsity positions to fill. “However, the dedication and enthusiasm of players -- playing year round -- and the quality of our JV program, have helped maintain our continuous success,” she says.

The unexpected surprise: The 2018 campaign ended with a trip to the state tournament under the Murphy Rule. “At the regional tournament, we needed to win three of our four remaining matches to clinch the 18 points,” she says. “Going into the last match, we had won two of the three. No. 3 doubles, twins Margaret and Elizabeth Brown, played for the flight championship against Marshall and won 6-3, 6-3. It was a great accomplishment for these girls in that it was their first year on varsity.”

It was also a very rewarding outcome for their coach even though not that unusual. Over the years, Kim’s teams have been to the state tournament 7 times, won two regional titles, and captured the conference championship seven times. Her overall record is a very respectable 164-54-17. “She develops in her girls a desire to both compete and to be better people,” says Stevensville Lakeshore’s Pam Porter.

This was manifested in abundance last year. “Younger and older tennis players stepped up their skills (in terms of wins) but unique to the 2018 team was the love and support toward their teammate who was in the car accident last December,” Kim says. “These girls offered cards, blankets, hospital visits, fund raisers, bracelets, and prayer. They embraced and encouraged her recovery and excitedly welcomed her back to school. This team made history at Edwardsburg by being the first to finish in the top ten at the state tournament and for this alone I am extremely proud, but I am most proud of their kind hearts and selflessness.”

Kim also credits two excellent JV coaches who in addition to directing the team spend time in the district promoting tennis at all grade levels. But those who have competed against her know that she is the real deal. “Her teams are always a reflection of her - extremely competitive and always classy both on and off the court,” says Allegan’s Jen Aldrich.

GIRLS (Spring)
Wayne Asher, Monroe St. Mary Catholic Center - Division 4

Many coaches, especially younger ones, may not know that the community of Monroe has a distinguished history in terms of high school tennis. Vic Braden (Yes, that Vic Braden) won the state singles championship for Monroe High School three consecutive years – 1946-1948. His coach, Tim Tambling, was inducted posthumously into the first class (1986) of our Hall of Fame. Tim was closely followed by Larry Alto, Class of 1988. Ward Olson was inducted in 1994. Stan Noland, a former MHSTeCA president and long-time member of the state seed committee, joined them in 1998. Although Stan coached a bit at Monroe High School, he spent most of his time leading the team at Monroe St. Mary’s. He pioneered the use of “walky-talkys” to communicate between sites during his many Saturday tournaments long before the advent of cell phones. He hosted many Saturday tournaments in those early days.

Enter Wayne Asher, current coach at St. Mary’s who is certainly not new to the tennis scene in Monroe. Growing up on the east side of town, he took advantage of the sports opportunities which included playing No. 1 singles and doubles for Monroe High. He received the Barker Memorial Tennis Award in 1958 and was offered a dual scholarship in swimming and tennis at Bowling Green University but opted to walk on at MSU where he won the freshman tournament. He ended a winding road at MSU by playing 7th on the team.

Obviously, he learned a lot. The legendary Dean Pinchoff, who was an assistant under Alto while Wayne was in high school, honed his singles skills. Drobac influenced his style and strategy in doubles. But Wayne didn’t go into tennis instruction and coaching until after his retirement from Ford Motor Co. as an environmental engineer (Degree from MSU in Biological Sciences). He started a program at the Monroe Golf and County Club -- the program now known as the Asher School of Tennis -- and became an instructor at the Monroe YMCA. The position at St. Mary’s was a natural.

He certainly fielded good teams, especially this past spring. That squad went 17-1-1 on its way to a 5th place state finish. Indeed, early on they made it clear that they could play with the big girls, only losing to Ann Arbor Greenhills with several matches going three sets. The Falcons tied in a dual with then-No.4 Grosse Ile but defeated them at the conference tournament and became league champions. They beat #7 North Muskegon 8-0 and #15 Royal Oak Shrine.  They won the Monroe High School Tournament Quad, the SMCC tournament Quad, and the SMCC Triangular Tourney. They were second in the Regional tournament to Greenhills, losing by only 2 points. Their 5th  place in the State tournament wasn’t very far away from the points totaled by the schools which finished 2nd, 3rd, and  4th.

Moreover, this isn’t the first time. Wayne’s 2012 squad finished as state runner-up, a squad that he compares favorably with this past spring’s. “Both teams were solid from one singles down to four doubles,” he says. In 2011, the Falcons finished third. Much of what his girls have accomplished over the years in terms of qualifying for state competition and state finishes were the first times in the school’s history.

Why so good? Veteran tennis coaches know that successful high school teams are built on community involvement, especially in the off-season. Wayne has been present on the tennis scene all his life as a player in local tournaments. Moreover, he has been the coach of St. Mary’s for 11 years; hence providing all-important continuity. He started a Quick Start 10 and Under at the Monroe Family YMCA. He began the first junior high program in Monroe County. He operates a summer program for six weeks for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players, ages 5-18. He runs one-day tournaments each Friday during the summer. He is the founder and director of the Monroe County Community Tennis Association (CTE), a non-profit organization through the USTA which seeks to grow tennis in a specified area.

His efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Wayne has been named Huron League Coach of the Year twice. MHSTeCA Regional Coach of the Year twice, and Monroe County Coach of the Year three times. The sheer volume of his work on the Monroe tennis scene plus the success that it has produced at the high school level makes this Coach of the Year Award, voted by his peers at the state level, more than appropriate.

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BOYS (Fall)
Barb Lehmann, Plymouth Canton - Division 1

In March of 2018, Barb Lehmann announced that after 27 years, this would be the last in which she would coach high school tennis. That’s 54 seasons of innovation and team building and service.

Her father, George Hanosh, coached for 36 years at Garden City and got his daughter started in the game via a summer program. “I got into tennis once I was old enough to hold a racket and attend my dad’s tennis clinic each summer,” she says. She played for Salem High School all four years, making it to the state finals two years.

Although Barb has had success as a tennis coach in terms of wins and conference titles, her girls have had the misfortune of being annually ensconced in a regional that includes all three Ann Arbor schools. Recently her boys changed venues and although the new regional line-up includes Brother Rice, the team has taken advantage of the opening and qualified the past two seasons. In other words, they play well and to be sure, Barb prides herself on the good behavior that she instills.

But perhaps it was the fact that Barb is a school counselor that made her focus so much about connecting kids to a team. “We began each season with a team goal in mind from the No. 1 player to the ‘anchor,’ our last player in the lineup. We began each practice with a series of drills and then a Park Run; they would run around our three high schools to be a presence on campus as well as to build endurance,” she says. “Each time there was a new player in first and last for the run.”

Barb also considered it important that her teams be together off court at least one time per week. “It could be running to the nearby 7/11 which we called a Slurpee Run to team dinners at players’ homes or nearby restaurants,” she says. “The first was always at my home. I have hosted anywhere from 12 to 76 players for dinner [the table stretched the length of her driveway]. We have decorated cookies together and made veggie pizzas for our donation to our Midnight Madness tournament where we play from 8:00 to midnight indoors. We had water balloon fights and done the water bucket thing over my head; I even had a parent allow me to take a hose into her basement in retaliation. It was these experiences that helped form lifelong friendships and indeed, a few married couples.”

Barb did her actual tennis coaching on a complex of 24 courts which they call “The Park,” a facility that serves all three Plymouth schools. When she started coaching, she coached on 7 courts with two additional “going the wrong way.” She dealt with community leaders, created fundraisers, and worked with the school district to build the facility. She helped get the two middle schools to build tennis courts, ran summer tournaments, sold concessions for USTA tournaments, and helped run a state final. She ran tennis clinics in the summer and hosted tournaments for both varsity and junior varsity during the season. “I had my players in a tournament every weekend but one,” she says. And as a school counselor, she checked on grades and connected those who needed help with team members for tutoring.

To be sure, there was variety. “I had players who played since they were young: some played off the garage door, some taught themselves as a hobby, and a few started with lessons and then continued with a pro,” she says. Regardless, they would all gather together to run a lemonade stand at local community fair as a fundraiser. Players and parents were involved: great team camaraderie for everyone.

The result has been a generation of kids who learned to play a lifetime sport well, who learned how to behave in competition, and who learned to support teammates both on and off the court. Barb leaves quite a legacy, capped by a well-deserved Coach of the Year Award.

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BOYS (Fall)
Nancy Martin, Portage Central - Division 2

Although it is a truism that the best players don’t necessarily make the best coaches (See non-players Jean and Jerry Hoxie of Hamtramck who oversaw a run of 13 consecutive Class A state championships back in the 1950s and ‘60’s), it certainly doesn’t hurt, especially if you reside in a high profile tennis area such as Kalamazoo-Portage. After all, kids grow up in the shadow of venerable Stowe Stadium, a venue that has hosted the longest run of state championship events -- of any sport – in the history of MHSAA final contests. This is where kids flock to the stadium in early August to watch the best boys in the nation compete for national championships. This is where Kalamazoo youth from an early age start playing the game with stars in their eyes and lofty goals in their dreams. This is where Nancy Martin grew up.

She started at age 7 playing in a city recreation league but at age 9 was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. “My parents knew that I needed year around physical activity to keep my diabetes under control,” she says, “so they got me enrolled in year-around lessons and youth group hitting sessions at the then-Kalamazoo Racket Club.” She was hooked. She played USTA tournaments from the 10 and Unders through the 18s and received a national ranking each of the final two years.

Such experience translates to a great high school playing experience. Competing for Sandy Peterson (Hall of Fame Class of 1987), Nancy went undefeated at 4S in 1977, posting a record of 28-0 and winning the state championship for Portage Northern. The following two years, she played one singles where she reached the semifinals each year.

She certainly didn’t disappoint the folks at Western Michigan University when they gave her a full scholarship. At two singles and one doubles, Nancy won three Mid American Conference titles and one team title in her four-year career there.

But can this very good player coach? Consider her experience at the Santa Catalina School in Monterey, California and then at Castilleja School in Palo Alto. While there, Nancy worked with players from all over the world with vast experience “that really challenged me to challenge them. Exceptional players attended these schools and I worked year around with them (It was permitted back then) and in a sunny climate.” She spent 14 seasons in California coaching varsity and amassed a record of 233-8 (It’s hard not to put an !!! after this number). Yes, she can coach.

Nancy returned to Portage when her mother became ill. She led her alma mater’s boys and girls for seven years before moving to Portage Central where this extraordinary player with such extraordinary leadership experience coached the JV (another !!!) boys and girls. “I chose to move to Portage Central as it was an opportunity to work with Peter Militzer even though I would be coaching JV,” she explains. “This was a move that made me a much better coach as Peter is an extraordinary mentor.”

This season, her first as Portage Central’s varsity coach, makes it 33 years (!!!) of coaching both varsity and JV at the high school level. And at a very high level at that. Four times her Portage Northern teams finished second behind Central. This past season, her Central boys recorded notable individual wins against some of the strongest players from around the state. They finished in second place behind Battle Creek Lakeview in the conference and ended one point from qualifying for state competition in their regional.

Nancy is a phys ed teacher at an elementary school in Portage but her service to tennis goes beyond the end of the school day. She is also the USTA Schools Program coordinator for the Portage Public Schools. She trains the system’s physical education teachers at the elementary, middle school, and secondary levels.

Additionally, the tennis experience of so many Portage high school players, goes back to their beginnings when Nancy taught them. For the past 20 years, she has run the Timothy Zeigler Tennis Program under the guidance of the Kalamazoo Tennis Patrons, a 403c community tennis foundation. This is a grass roots program intended to offer affordable tennis for children between ages 5 and 14. “I am happy to say that many kids I have coached at the high school level started their tennis careers in the Zeigler Program under my teaching,” she says.

In short, Nancy has spent a career developing tennis programs and players from the ground level to the highly experienced. She is a very good player who is also a very good coach. Portage and Peter are fortunate to have her services.

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BOYS (Fall)
Steve Herdoiza, Cranbrook - Division 3

It is a gross understatement to say that Steve Herdoiza enjoyed success as both a high school and college competitor. He played 1S as a freshman for Jan Esper at Bloomfield Hills Lahser, a feat unto itself given the history of that high-powered program. He won the regional every year: 1983-87. “He was so talented and mature beyond his years,” says Jan. “He was the most mature leader I have ever had the pleasure of coaching.”

“He dispatched his opponents in a quiet, businesslike manner,” says then-coach Ed Waits of Southfield-Lathrup. “There was none of that hollering ‘to pump me up’ or and fist-waving at the sky after hitting a great shot. Some of today’s players who grandstand and showboat would do well to emulate him.”

In 1986, Steve won the Class A State Championship, defeating Todd Martin in the finals. He went to play at Northwestern from 1987-1991. He was All American in 1990, reaching the quarterfinals at the NCAA tournament. His national ranking was #7 in singles; #8 in doubles. He then played professionally until 1996 when he got injured. His singles ATP ranking was in the 200s; in the 300s in doubles.

But can the man coach? Consider the record of state championships once he returned to the Detroit area. His Brother Rice team won the state title in 2001. When he coached Bloomfield Hills Andover from 2004 – 2012, he directed boys teams that won state championships in 2004 and 2005 and his girls team won it all in 2012. Prior to becoming the varsity girls coach at Kingswood, he assisted and co-coached with Jeff Etterbeek (himself at state singles champion at Cranbrook) for two years. The team won state championships both years. In the past two years, Cranbrook boys have also triumphed.

This is an astonishing body of work but not simply because Steve walked into a variety of gold mines these many years. Coaching in a high-stress environment where expectations are so very high isn’t easy. Consider that Kingswood is the home of Nancy Ryan who was inducted into the first class of our Hall of Fame: 1986. Cranbrook tennis was the domain for so many years of Don Brown who traded state championships with East Grand Rapids’ Charlie Partin throughout the 1980s. Don was inducted in our second Hall of Fame Class.

Alas, historically strong programs in the past have been replete with coaches who got in over their heads. These programs demand what amounts to an in-house pro. Well, Cranbrook got one, a guy who entered the program with substantial credibility. You would have to ask yourself: If these kids wouldn’t listen and obey this guy, what would it take?

After all, Steve came to Cranbrook with a multitude of state team championships under his belt and is arguably the best player from Michigan to come back as a coach. It doesn’t hurt that he works as a pro at Franklin Athletic Club in the winters and runs a tennis academy in the summers called HEAT. To be sure, he is a known quantity.

Steve certainly upholds Cranbrook-Kingswood’s tradition of excellence.                Says current athletic director Steve Graf, “He continues to be a great role model, teacher, and advocate for the sport he embraces and is so passionate about. Within the realm of Cranbrook’s successful tennis history and high expectations, Coach Herdoiza approaches his trade each day with a positive outlook and is about creating an environment and tennis culture that encompasses the balance of dedication and commitment, hard work, academic excellence, citizenship, teamwork, and fun.”

“He is an incredible person; a great tennis player, coach, and teacher, as well as a loving husband and father,” says Jan. “He has it all. The tennis world is fortunate to have him.”

In 2004, Steve introduced his high school coach before she was inducted into our Hall of Fame. Fifteen years later, it’s his turn to receive.

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BOYS (Fall)
Dave Fredette, Armada - Division 4

Dave Fredette has been coaching tennis in Armada for over a half century. This is not a misprint. Although he is not the only one (See Marty Snoap, John Shade, Larry Nykerk, and Larry Seger), it is an exceptional achievement, but not just in terms of longevity. After all, Armada is not located in what you might call a hotbed of tennis. Indeed, Dave has hung on for so long because without his leadership and influence, there would be no tennis in the community. In terms of his efforts, the results were far above what a caretaker coach would produce.

Dave started Armada’s tennis program in 1966, established and ran a summer program from 1966 – 2003 (and then helped as a part-time instructor), and founded and sanctioned the Independent Tennis League that ran from 1988 through 2001. He also coached basketball (26 years) and football (10 years) for the school and was the stadium’s football announcer from 1965 through 2004

Just before Dave entered high school, his family moved to a small farm community near Cassopolis and Dave went to Dowagiac High School. He played 3D and 2d and liked the game enough to play for Benton Harbor Community College. Back in those days, there were more jobs than teachers; Dave opted for the small village of Armada – the kind of community he was looking for – and the school wanted to start a tennis club. “I said yes but only if it was offered as a varsity sport,” he says. “We had two cement courts that I was told were built with FDR Public Works money.” That was in 1966.

In that his coaches in high school and college were more supervisors than tennis instructors, Dave went to work. He took kids to see pros such as Rod Laver play in Detroit. He read books. He started a small summer program in Armada that grew. He took kids to summer tournaments in nearby Port Huron. He talked with anyone who knew something about tennis coaching for ideas. He started his own summer tournament. In that Almont’s Dean Sousanis was also starting a summer program, the kids from both communities played each other. Yes, back then tennis players were developed in the summer. Later, he attended our association’s workshops.

Indeed, his teams experienced success in spite of having to take two weeks off because of Armada’s annual senior trip in the spring. A week was always taken to visit Gettysburg, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City, and Niagara Falls. “With the senior trip being back to back with the Easter break, it took two weeks out of our tennis season and we just started getting back into tennis form when the regional was played,” he says. In today’s hyper-competitive tennis world, this value system might seem quaint but these trips provided life-time memories for the kids. Dave went on 27 of these adventures, acting as class advisor, chaperone, and bus driver.

He also took his tennis teams to Florida from 1988 through 2001. “My teams traveled a lot and played many of the top teams in the state,” he adds. “We usually got our butts kicked but we learned over the years how to compete.”

Again, this was a different era. For instance, Dave taught typing when the kids learned on a manual typewriter. A few years later, Ed Waits was composing the association newsletter on an Apple IIe  (it would interesting to see how many present-day coaches remember that early-age computer).  In the fledgling days of the 1980s, when the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association was still getting itself off the ground, Dave took on the arduous task of printing and snail-mailing a hard copy of our group’s newsletter. After Ed wrote it, Dave printed, collated, stuffed, stamped, and mailed over 300 copies twice per year. In an age when all Will Sophiea has to do is click, this was a remarkable amount of work.

Dave began serving on the board in 1982 as one of our earliest members when the group used to gather in the summers at Houghton Lake for a weekend of meetings, tennis, golf, water skiing, and pizza. These affairs combined official business with plenty of social time as whole families spent the weekend together in a lodge settiing. That year, Dave won the Class C-D Coach of the Year Award – the first of three. Once again, it would be interesting to determine how many present-day board members were even born at that time. Same with his induction into our Hall of Fame, 1988, and the ensuing Coaches of the Year Awards.

Awards and commendations back then ... and still receiving them now. In 2015 the Armada Area Schools presented him with a 50-year plaque for coaching tennis and the next year he received a 50+ years tennis trophy from the Michigan High School Coaches Association. In 2018, Armada’s board of education named the eight new tennis courts the Dave Fredette Tennis Courts

Given this immense body of work and an extraordinary story (groundbreaking and grass roots), perhaps we should have awarded Dave the MHSTeCA Coach of the Year Emeritus Award (which doesn’t exist). If nothing else, we recognize an exceptional life of service.

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BOYS (Fall)
Greg McManus - Whitehall - Division 4

Unlike some coaches who played for their high schools, went off to college for teacher training, and then returned to their alma maters to continue the tennis tradition of success, Greg McManus’s journey was slightly different. Yes, he performed well for Whitehall High School and Hall of Famer Dick Morley from 1992-1995. In his sophomore year, he played 3rd doubles and made it all the way to the semi-finals in the then Class C-D state tournament. In his junior year, he was 34-3 at first doubles – perhaps still a school record for doubles wins – and again went to the semifinals, this time at the Class B final tournament. In his senior year, he was the team No. 1 singles. He had a good year but unfortunately drew Detroit Country Day in the first round of that state tournament.

Even though he entered college with lots of successful tennis experience, Greg didn’t return to the game until he walked on to the Grand Valley team where he started in singles and doubles for three years while pursuing a manufacturing engineer degree. He worked for Arconic -- a manufacturer of military and commercial castings for a company called Aerospace -- for seven years before volunteering to help Coach Morley with his summer program teaching adult lessons . It was a way to once again get back into the game. “Toward the end of the classes, he asked me if I had ever thought about coaching.”

Coach Morley’s niece, Heather McKinney, was coaching the school teams at the time but was going to possibly quit. Hence the Hall of Famer went about recruiting the star former player but “I told him that I could help out with the boys if my work was ok with it,” he says. “I told him I could coach for the season but did not promise I would coach the girls or boys again. After that fall, I did not coach the girls but started the middle school tennis program and coached the girls the following year.”

He hasn’t looked back. This past fall, his boys team won five tournaments despite “dealing with more injuries than I ever remembered.” His 2S went down for month with shoulder tendinitis. His 1S was out for two weeks with a sore wrist and back. His 4S dealt with arm and back issues. “The record would have been better had I been healthy all year,” he says, stating the obvious. For instance, “When we were hurt, we lost to Grand Rapids Northview 7-1 but when we saw them in a quad, we beat them 5-3.

Their best win was against 8th ranked Grand Rapids Catholic Central at the end of the season when the team was healthy and was seemingly peaking. The Vikings finished 2nd in their conference behind Ludington and third at the regional, qualifying for state competition with 19 points (Thank you, Jerry Murphy). “All of the guys made it to the semis with two flights making it to the finals against Traverse City St. Francis, “he explains. “Last year we missed by one point.”

They did well at the state tournament, finishing in a tie for  8th with Grosse Pointe University Liggett. “Our goal was to qualify, then make the top ten,” he says. This speaks well not only for his team but the area in which they compete: At the final tournament, St. Francis finished 2nd , Ludington 4th, and Grant had a singles qualifier.

This is not unusual. In 11 years, Greg’s squads have finished in the top ten at the state level five times: 8th in 20018, 6th in 2009, 4th in 2015, 3rd in 2016, and 8th this year. The Vikings missed top ten with finishes of 11 and 12 points two other years. They won their regional in 2009 and the conference in 2016. The team tied for first in 2015 but Ludington won overall.

Greg enjoys wonderful support from assistant coach Jared Vanderleest who has helped out over the past six years and runs the middle school program in the spring. He also appreciates the aid of multiple volunteer coaches. “The culture is very positive and I try to continue what Mr. Morley started and ingrained in me,” he says. “The parents are extremely supportive.”

“Greg has become one of the outstanding younger coaches,” says Grant’s Scott Zerlaut.  “He is always quick with an encouraging word to opposing players, win or lose.  He is super competitive, but will not sacrifice doing things the right way to gain an advantage.  It is always nice to play against his teams.  The players take care of their business on the court.  There isn’t any gamesmanship or sportsmanship issues from the players, fans, or parents.  We just get to coach and the players play. “ 

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