Can MHS finally find the right tennis coach?

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Xavier Sanga would have been in the state tournament last season, but former coach Andre Glass sent his paperwork to the wrong email address./File photo

The heat is on.

Middleton athletic director Bob Joers has made several solid coaching hires during two different stints as the Cardinals’ A.D.

But Joers has never been able to find stability inside the tennis programs, where it’s been a revolving door for years.

Now, Joers gets another chance to right a wrong.

Andre Glass — who had a tumultuous one-year run as Middleton’s boys tennis coach — resigned last Thursday, just two months before the season begins.

It’s safe to say no tears were shed.

Glass was in over his head from the start and made one of the biggest coaching blunders in school history.

Middleton’s Xavier Sanga and Brian Bellissimo were likely to receive “special qualifier” status to compete in the WIAA Division 1 individual state tournament last June.

All Glass needed to do was email the proper paperwork for the two MHS standouts to the WIAA. Instead, he sent it to the wrong address.

Both Sanga and Bellissimo were denied entry to the state tournament. Their season of hard work was washed away by a coach who couldn’t follow basic instructions.

In predictable fashion, Glass criticized the WIAA instead of owning his error.

“It’s unfortunate,” Joers said at the time. “It’s a mistake that in normal circumstances doesn’t happen.”

With Glass, though, such mistakes were common.

Glass skipped a critical subsectional meeting less than a week earlier. There, all of the instructions for the state qualifying process were outlined for coaches.

Had Glass attended that meeting, there’s a reasonable chance the email snafu wouldn’t have happened.

Needless to say, his one-year run will be remembered as turbulent, at best.

Middleton doesn’t need Andre Agassi to run its boys tennis program. In many ways, it simply needs a caretaker.

Middleton is an extremely affluent community, and the majority of its high level players have private coaches. Those same players practice year-round at one of the various indoor facilities in the area.

When the high school season arrives, the athletes are ready to roll.

Even with a turnstyle set up at the coaching door in recent years, Middleton has been to the state tournament 10 times since 2000. And the school produced its first-ever individual state champion last year when Jake Van Emburgh — whose father coached the University of Wisconsin at the time — won the title.

Whoever the next coach is must simply be responsible, reliable and possess solid computer skills. That hasn’t always been the case.

Can Joers finally solve the riddle that is Middleton tennis? We’ll be watching.

• A belated thanks: Speaking of tennis, a long overdue thank you goes out to Middleton senior Abbey Webber.

Throughout the 2015 season, Webber served as a liaison between the girls tennis program and the Times-Tribune. Webber provided results and comments from matches all season, a responsibility that no other athlete in my 18 years with this paper has ever done.

Why was this heaped on the plate of Webber, a senior who’s trying to juggle school, athletics, pick a college and handle the day-to-day pressures of being a teenager?

Because during the 10-week season, the Times-Tribune never heard a word from head coach Deke Bradley. Not one.

And that’s too bad.

Coaches at the high school level should do everything they possibly can to promote their sports — especially in ones like tennis that are starving for coverage.

Instead, Bradley does the exact opposite, choosing apathy over publicity.

Fortunately, Webber was a standout on the court — winning a WIAA Division 1 state doubles title — as well as off it. It’s because of kids like Webber that the tennis program isn’t a forgotten one.

 

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