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New tennis coaches hope to build success at Victoria schools (VIDEO)

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
Sept. 17, 2013 at 4:17 a.m.

Victoria West's Chase Bennett returns a volley shot during a match against across-town rivals Victoria East on Tuesday.

Victoria West's Chase Bennett returns a volley shot during a match against across-town rivals Victoria East on Tuesday.

Chase Bennett and Jonathan Dietzel know each other well, but it's not the same story with their coaches.

Bennett, who plays at Victoria West, and Dietzel, who plays at Victoria East, competed against one another in team tennis at the West campus Tuesday.

But for coaches Tony Williams and Toby Watson, it was a chance to see each other for the first time as opposing coaches.

Williams, 24, coaches at Victoria East, and Watson, 38, coaches Victoria West. Both are in their first seasons at their schools.

Both want to build success at the schools where tennis coaches at the campuses have not been stable.

Bennett, who has played on the Warriors team since his freshman year, has had a new coach all four years. Dietzel has been on the Titans varsity team for three years and will be working with his second coach.

The two new coaches hope to instill long-term success in their programs and want to be there to see it.

"I think they're up for the challenge, and they're hungry to win," Watson said. "We have a good core of kids. There's a good foundation. Now, it's a matter of developing a culture of accountability, a good team and atmosphere. There hasn't been that here before."

At the Warriors' campus, Bennett's glad to have a new coach - one that wants to stay long term.

"This year, it's especially hard because we haven't had consistency," Bennett said. "I hope for the team to go to the semifinals in district."

Watson, who coached six years at Lindale and two years at Nacogdoches, wants to build the program from the ground up.

Growing up, Watson played tennis in high school at Texarkana, where his dad still coaches.

For the Titans, a similar pattern of change has occurred since the arrival of Williams.

"He's given me direction," Dietzel said. "He has a background in tennis."

Between matches Tuesday, Williams checked on Dietzel and his teammate to give them advice.

"They've improved," Williams said from when the Titans started this season. "Skill-wise, on the court, all the players are better than when they were a month ago."

Williams, a Port Lavaca native, played tennis at Calhoun and later at McMurry College. This is the first time the head coach saw a chance to come back to the Crossroads and build something new.

"If they and I work hard, we will get to where we need to be," said Williams, who was an assistant coach at Big Springs. "We need to keep improving every day."

Though Dietzel and his teammate did not win the match, he sees himself getting better.

"He knows how to play. We've been very fortunate to have him," Dietzel said of the coach, understanding success won't be seen right away. "It doesn't happen overnight."



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