High School Sports

Belleville East boys tennis coach is honored

Seven months after leading the Belleville East Boys tennis team to one of the finest seasons in school history, Dan Skaer is receiving receiving the ultimate honor.

Head coach of the Lancers program for the past 13 years, Skaer has been named as the Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association Region #7 Boys Coach of the Year for the 2014 season.

Always a Southwestern Conference power, the Lancers finished 20-2 in dual matches and won the sectional title by a whopping 16 points a year ago. East then capped off its memorable season by finishing in a four way tie for 12th place with 14 points.

“Its a very nice honor. But a coach is only as good as good as his players,’’ Skaer said on Wednesday. “We’ve been very fortunate throughout my 13 years to work with good kids and good tennis players. The last three or four years, we’ve had even more players compete in the fall, winter and summer in tournaments and clinics and because of that we’ve had even more success.’’

Skaer will be honored along with other region winners on Friday as part of the Illinois High School Tennis Coaches Association annual coaches clinic in suburban Aurora.

Edwardsville coach David Lipe is receiving the Region #7 Girls Tennis Coach of the Year honor.

The Lancers were led by sectional singles champion Aaron Skaer and sectional doubles winners Jacob Hamilton and Chase Stumne. Other key members of the team included Kobi Phillips, Spencer Smith and Nick Spitze.

Hamilton and Stumne return this spring and should be among the top doubles combinations in the state. Phillips also returns for his junior season.

“We’ve got some high hopes. These kids have worked very hard and we’ve got several others who have put in a lot of time to get ready for this season. It could be a fun year,’’ Skaer said. “I think O’Fallon is going to be good but Edwardsville is still the team to beat. We feel we’ve got a chance though. It should be a great match when we play them.’’