Kingwood High School’s Tennis program is loaded with student athletes. With around 100 kids in the program Head Coaches Kevin McElroy and Tim Green have their hands full. So to make matters a little less hectic, Coach McElroy handles the men’s side while Coach Green coaches the women’s side. Although they designate themselves to focus on one side of the program they still help each other out coaching the program as whole. After all, in the fall it is a combined team effort in the standing due to men and women’s overall combined results factoring in to the schools overall performance. “If he sees something on the boys, then he’ll say something to the boys. If I see something on the girls’ side, I’ll say something to the girls. We do compete together,” Coach McElroy stated.
In the tennis program the team designates the individuals on a number bases on whom is most valuable; 1 being the most valuable and so on. At times during the duration of the season Coach Green says that his number 2, 3, and 4 have been out with injuries sporadically throughout the season. “We’ve fought a lot of injuries.” During competitions they will have 3 doubles matches on each of the girls and boys side, 1 mixed doubles match, and then 6 singles matches on each of the girls and boys side. In the past the atmosphere around the team seemed to be focused on individual results. Now, it definitely has a team atmosphere. The players are all rooting for each other and striving to make one another better. The coaches and captains have made in clear that this is a team and that’s the attitude they have. In fact, the girls have 3 captains to help with that which is more than usual but it has worked out nice. “I never would have thought I’d have 3 captains, but they all fit that mold,” Coach Green admitted.
The expectations going into the season have been different. After graduating many boys they knew it was going to be a young inexperienced group of guys representing the team; young but competitive. As far as the girls, they only lost 1 to graduation and some of the freshmen were beating the upperclassmen for spots on the team. The girls were expected to pick up the slack for the loss of all of the boys but injuries have held back the potential of the girls side thus the expectations changed a bit. According to Coach McElroy, Region II is one of the toughest regions in the state. So based on that, the expectations were to make it to the playoffs but the goal was to make it to the regional tournament.
Coach McElroy has been pleased with the way the season has been going especially since the program has only 3 boys with varsity experience this season. Not only did they lose 10 senior boys, but 5 of those boys were among the top 7 in the program. “For tennis, that’s a lot,” Coach McElroy said of the losses. “It’s almost a rebuilding year and they’ve really stepped up.” The boys played Clear Brook earlier in the season and lost 11-8 but Coach McElroy believes it would be a different story now based on the inexperience they had in the first meeting.
The tennis program frequently contributes to local charities like the Ronald McDonald house in which they donate toys and gift cards to the foundation. “It’s never about you, it never will be. As soon as you can learn that at a younger age it’s going to come back to you 1,000 fold,” Coach McElroy said about giving back. “The atmosphere at this school is great because they are involved in so many things,” Coach Green continued.
In Kingwood, tennis flies under the radar with so many sports offered at the high school. People often are unaware that Kingwood tennis won 29 consecutive district titles ending just recently. In the public it is much easier to find a basketball court or an open field of grass to throw or kick a ball around. It is incredibly rare to find a place to play tennis on an actual tennis court. Thus, outside interest in the sport may not be reaching its full potential since kids do not have a recreational place to just, well…play. Most local facilities require money to play on the courts.
Coach McElroy attended and played tennis at Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena, TX. He then went on to major in Kinesiology at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, TX. Coach Green attended and played tennis North Shore High School in Galena Park ISD. He was named an All-Conference tennis player at Metropolitan State University of Denver in Colorado.
During district play this season, the Mustangs finished 3rd in district 16-6A behind The Woodlands and College Park.
Written by Mark M Johnson