New tennis coaches: Skrade and Flannery

For Ames High Boys’ Tennis, the Brockway era is over, just like the Tallman and Justman eras before it. As fall and winter came and went, Athletic Director Judge Johnston knew he had a hole to fill in his coaching staff. Last month, he announced his decision. The 2010 Boys’ Team would have not one, but two, head coaches: local tennis pro Miriam Skrade and longtime Ames High swim coach Dan Flannery. The two coaches come from very different backgrounds. Skrade has spent many years playing tennis, but none coaching at Ames High. Flannery, on the other hand, has been coaching at Ames High for many years, but has never coached tennis. Johnston feels that the two will complement each other well. Since Skrade (rhymes with lady) has never taught at Ames High, most students probably don’t know her very well. A Wisconsin native, she’s been playing tennis since 7 t h grade, including finishing second in the Wisconsin High School State tournament and playing as the one seed for Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. She moved to Ames in 2005 and has been coaching tennis here ever since, including assistant coaching the Iowa State Womens’ team, teaching at the Ames Golf and Country Club, and teaching at the Ames Racquet and Fitness Center. " I already knew I loved coaching, but at the Racquet and Fitness Center, I learned the joy of working with students year after year and helping them develop as players and as people," said Skrade. Her time at the Racquet and Fitness Center has also given her time to get to know many of the players she’ll be coaching this spring. "During my four years at the Racquet and Fitness Center, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with almost all the players going out for the boys’ team. I’m grateful for the history there and look forward to working with them in a new setting." Freshman Alex Qin is just one of the many players who has trained with Skrade at the Fitness Center. "I’ve been working with Miriam for a while at the club, and I think she’s going to be a really good coach," Qin said. "She has a lot of experience and she’s a good player, and I think that will transfer into good coaching. Athletic Director Johnston was very happy to find a coach with Skrade’s tennis skills. "Miriam has a great knowledge of the game of tennis; the X’s and O’s," Johnston said. "She knows the strategy of the game inside and out, and we’re really excited about that. On the other hand, Dan Flannery has the actual Ames High head coaching experience. He can come in and help organize the season, work with the booster club, set up practice, do all those outside things." Most students at Ames High know Flannery as the swimming coach who has established Ames as a perennial powerhouse in both boys’ and girls’ swimming. Now, he’ll see if he can do the same for the tennis program. "I’ve been coaching the swim teams for 12 years now here at Ames High, but I’m a big sports fan," said Flannery." I played tennis for three years in high school and a lot in college, so I know the game." Skrade and Flannery complement each other well: Skrade has more knowledge of the skills and strategies of tennis, while Flannery has an extensive Ames High coaching background. "I hope to get Miriam some coaching experience and give her an opportunity to advance her coaching skills," said Flannery. "Coach Skrade hasn’t had an Ames High coaching position yet, and Judge just wanted to advance her abilities by putting her with someone who’s had a lot of coaching experience. Hopefully I can teach her the ins and outs of the administratives of it all, and we can work together and do the best we can for these kids." Johnston is similarly enthusiastic about the coaching plans. "I think we really have the best of both worlds here," said Johnston. "We have a proven Ames High coach that knows the routine and then we’ve got someone who’s very strong in the skills of tennis." With the two coaches working together, in addition to the talent and depth on the team, the upcoming season should be a successful one for Ames. "We have high aspirations for the team this year, I hope we can have a successful season," said Johnston. "I just wanted to get someone there who can take this team deep into the state tournament, and we’ll see how the chips fall when that happens."