Replacing a legend

 Story by Kelsey Luce

The numbers are staggering: 33 Sectional titles, seven Regional, three semi-state championships, and two final four appearances.

The Red Devil tennis teams have had great success over the past 30 years coached by Mark Reilly. However this past 2015-16 season was the last year with Reilly at the helm after he decided to step down, ending his JHS coaching career.

Since then, Jeff High has hired a new tennis coach for this upcoming season, Curt Roehm.

Roehm has been coaching since he was in college at Indiana University Southeast. He started out coaching tennis at River Valley Middle School, before deciding to take a job as the assistant girls tennis coach at Jeff High towards the end of his college career.

Later, after leaving that position, Roehm took a job at as the girls tennis coach at South Oldham High School, before making his way back to Jeff High to become assistant coach for Reilly with the boys program.

The movement, and ultimate return to JHS, put him in the daily presence of one of the most decorated tennis coaches in the state.

“Working beside Coach Reilly the past few years was a privilege,” Roehm said. “He’s such a student of the game. He picks up on the smallest thing and can build an entire game plan around it.

Because Roehm has spent so much time at Jeff High in the past, many current players recognize, and have been taught by, Roehm.

“He is a really great coach,” junior Trey Bottorff said. “He knows how to motivate and teach the game. He has some of the same great qualities that Coach Reilly has. I expect us to surprise a lot of teams doubting us and have a great season.”

The team already has big plans, along with a lot of respect, for their new coach this season. Roehm also knows, and understands, the legacy that came before him, and is focused on putting realistic goals on a team that went to the final four last season.

“I think it’s very important to set real and obtainable goals. We are focusing on things we can control,” Roehm said. “You can’t control when your opponent is going to have a near-perfect day. You can’t control when you go through a slump or a bad game. You can control walking off the court, knowing you gave 100-percent in practice and in the match,” Roehm said.

These goals are in place with a hope to follow up last year’s success, as well as preparing the boys to be the best they can for any opponents coming forward.

“The team already has respect for him, and now that he’s the head coach, he will bring a new and good element to the team this season,” junior Gerrin Moore said.

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