City tennis complex almost set to open

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2001

Sports Editor

Troy get ready for something new.

Tennis fans and players of the sport can start looking forward to summer days and nights spent volleying that elusive little yellow ball over a waist-high net.

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And doing it in a first class facility.

Construction of the city’s new tennis complex, located on Elm Street across from Troy Elementary, is almost complete. The facility was developed in a unique three-way partnership between Charles Henderson High School, Troy State University and the Troy Parks and Recreation Department.

That means that Troy State tennis coach Chad Hebert, nationally-recognized for his achievement in the sport, and his squad will move from beneath the shadows of Richard M. Scrushy Field at Memorial Stadium and to a first-class facility for practices and games. Charles Henderson and the City of Troy will benefit from Hebert’s knowledge of the game and watching some of the best collegiate tennis players around, such as Willie Campos, play the game.

For TPRD Director Dan Smith, the addition of tennis, to his department’s ever-increasing list of sports offered to the public, is something that appeals to all ages.

"We’ll be offering adult league tennis, youth tennis, local leagues, instruction and tournaments," said Smith. "But we are really looking forward to this three-way partnership with CHHS and Troy State."

When a tennis league is formed by the TPRD its total number of sports offered for youth will be an even ten. An added adult tennis league will bring the number to six total sports offered for the ‘weekend warrior’, along with the occasional flag football league offered in the months of January and February. Currently, for youth, TPRD offers: baseball and fastpitch softball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, football, swim team and gymnastics. For the active adult, mens and womens softball, plus coed and church league, basketball and volleyball.

Soccer has been growing in recent years and Smith said the sport has really taken off with the parents as well as the children.

"Soccer is a game that the kids love as well as the parents," said Smith. "It gives all the kids a chance to get involved in the play on the field, run around and get conditioned.

The TPRD youth basketball program is designed with one thing in mind – to have fun and enjoy the spirit of friendly competition.

"One of the rules we have is that every player on the team must play one full quarter of a game," said TPRD Youth Sports Director Vaughn Daniels. "It must be uninterrupted and from the beginning to the end of the quarter. That’s a requirement. This is recreation ball and we want it to be competitive, but not so that no one else gets to play."

Accomplishments of the TPRD Youth Basketball program in recent memory? The 12 and Under city basketball tournament team won the district title earlier in March and advanced to state competition a week after that. Daniels said some players on that team had advanced to two straight state tournaments prior to this year’s trip.

For the former high school or college basketball player, as well as the occasional participant, don’t get rid of your high tops just yet. TPRD Adult Sports Director offers a number of leagues, varying with skill and age, each January.

"We have the Men’s Open, which is usually made up of former high school and college players. These are the players that have played the game of basketball for a long time and know what they’re doing," Nix said. "Then we have the Men’s B League where the players are good to mediocre. Anyone can play in this league, regardless of their level of talent."

Smith said this is all a part of the TPRD’s masterplan.

"We want something to be going on year-around and we want to offer a variety of activities for both young and old," he said.