BELLEVILLE — Having taught tennis in the metro-east for more than two decades, Greg Nester couldn't pass up the chance to be a college coach in his own backyard.
Nester has been hired to coach both the Lindenwood-Belleville men's and women's tennis NAIA teams.
"We live in the west end of Belleville, my kids go to Signal Hill," Nester said. "We're definitely west end Belleville people."
Nester replaces Adam Reeb, who now is coaching at McKendree University, a Division II school.
Nester is currently the professional at St. Clair Country Club and Kings Point Tennis and Fitness Center. He's worked with kids to adults, beginners to veterans.
"I think that part of it will help," Nester said of his teaching background. "I've taught all ability levels. I've worked with beginners and kids who have gone on to play college tennis and everything in between."
Nester is a Belleville native and 1987 graduate of Althoff High School. He began teaching tennis at the Oak Hill Tennis Club back in the early 1990's when he was attending Saint Louis University.
"One day I went over to Oak Hill and Bill Rusick, who taught me, said, 'What are you doing?"' Nester said. "I said, 'I'm going to SLU now.' He said, 'Come help me with some little kids clinics and stuff.' That's how I started, and it just continued."
Nester said he's always thought about coaching, but it wasn't possible due to his teaching schedule.
"I've been doing tennis for a long time and I've helped with a few of the high school teams when I can, but really it's kind of difficult to do something like that with my job," Nester said. " I've always wanted to help with a team and be a coach, so this was a real good opportunity."
Nester said he'll continue giving tennis lessons, but his priority will be coaching the Lynx.
The Lynx men finished with a 7-13 record last season, while the women's team finished with a 5-13 record.
"I've met a lot of the kids at Kings Point when they practiced, but I'm still getting familiar with the roster," Nester said. "I'd like the see the program help the school, I'd like to see the program attract good students to our area and Belleville. I'd like to see it excel. And, mostly, I'd like to see the kids get an education.''
Nester's background should help him with recruiting in the metro-east.
"I know all the high school coaches, I know a lot of the kids who have either played at Kings Point or seen them play in tournaments," Nester said. "I'll absolutely know a lot of the local kids."
Nester and his wife, Tina, have two children, Mary and Jack.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.