Williams steps in to coach Braves tennis

GLADSTONE – Dan Williams is getting the opportunity to return to one of his passions. Williams was named this week as interim boys tennis coach at Gladstone High School. Coach Rich Trombly is taking a voluntary leave of absence.

“I’ve always loved coaching,” Williams, who formerly coached at Escanaba, said Friday morning. “I gave up at Escanaba because my two daughters were getting into their own sports and I didn’t want to miss that, so I gave up coaching for a while. They’re a little older now and their schedules are better. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m kind of going in on the fly, but that’s OK. I coached at Esky from 2002-2007 so I’m not unfamiliar with it.”

Athletic Director Matt Houle was pleased to announce the hiring of Williams.

“We’re very excited to have someone with Dan’s experience and his passion for the game coaching high school tennis. There’s not a lot of options out there for tennis coaches in our area, and to be able to find someone of his caliber, with his experience and passion – we are very fortunate and lucky, and very excited for him,” Houle said Friday.

Houle went on to explain the coaching situation.

“Dan is taking over for Rich Trombly, who has a leave of absence. Rich will let Dan know in the future what his plans are. Certainly we wish him and his family the best. The hope is that he will continue in some capacity with the tennis program.”

Williams said the process was fast moving but when the opportunity came, it didn’t take long for him to accept.

“Matt has been great and very supportive. I talked to him in the past about, if Gladstone ever opened up, I would be interested. He called me right away when Rich said he wouldn’t be back,” he said. “Being that this all happened so quickly and so late in the season, they needed someone was quickly as possible. I just got back from vacation and there was a message there, so there was a quick turnaround on what was going to happen.”

With Gladstone’s first scheduled meet set tentatively set for Wednesday (weather permitting) against Westwood, Williams is getting started right away with practice set for today and Sunday. He acknowledged that doesn’t leave a lot of time to evaluate the team.

“I live in Gladstone and I’ve seen the team play. I know one or two of the guys that came out but besides that, I don’t know the team. We had our first meeting yesterday,” he said. “Everything is pretty fresh. We’ll try to evaluate as quickly as possible. After our first practice I’ll get a better idea of where we’re at.”