By Mark Jurgena
T-T Sports Contributor
New Collinsville boys tennis coach Becky Kane has a solid tennis pedigree.
She has coached tennis at the old King’s Point Sports Club in Belleville and at Waterloo (Gibalut). Kane remains the longtime women’s tennis coach at SWIC.
The Maryville native attended Belleville Althoff during her high school years. She was the number one player for the Crusaders all four years and won over 100 matches during her time there.
Kane moved on to NCAA Division I school Marquette University where she played both number one singles and doubles for all four of her years in Milwaukee.
She helped her team take the Great Midwest Conference championship as a freshman by winning both the singles and doubles titles and earned GMC Newcomer of the Year honors. In 1993 she was named the Marquette women’s tennis player of the year and was named the hardest worker for MU in three of her four years there.
“My Dad and my older sister taught me how to play tennis,” she began. “We were fortunate enough to work with Bob Meyers who was the coach at SIUE for decades. One of the players who played for SIUE, Bill Rusick, was my high school coach when I went to Althoff. Tennis has just been a part of my life for most of my life.”
Kane hopes to instill a love of the game into her Kahoks this spring.
“Given that I had coached at Gibault and enjoyed that experience,” she began. “I started thinking maybe I could bridge the gap here. I’ve taken on the SWIC coaching position to find junior college players then I thought, ‘Maybe this might be a way to work with kids in high school and then they could move on to the junior college level.’ I worked with a lot of kids at King’s Point but with that closing shortly after COVID, I’m no longer there. So that was the mindset, just to continue to promote tennis in the Metro East.”
That task may seem daunting because of the low numbers in the past few seasons at CHS however Kane is willing to work to change that.
“I’m just hoping to try and promote the sport to get more kids interested,” she said. “I have a nephew in North Carolina who wants to play college baseball and I hope he is able to fulfill that dream. But to play baseball you need a team of nine players. To play tennis for the rest of your life you just need one or if you’re playing doubles three other people.
“Collinsville has done a lot for the facilities. They’ve painted it purple to make it more school spirited. They’ve got some signage so there’s a lot of pride there. I’m hoping to attract kids that will want to play. Will they go on to play in college I don’t know but there are a lot of courts to play in the area. There are a lot of places where as they move into adulthood they can keep playing tennis.”
While her specialty is tennis, Kane is a huge supporter of any and all the athletics students at Collinsville have the opportunity to participate in.
“There’s lots of tough stuff in this world, I just happen to be involved in tennis, but I view any sport as a positive for people to get involved in, be able to express themselves and gain their confidence. I found it to be helpful in my schoolwork because tennis demanded that I manage my time. I just think there’s a lot of crossover between sport and life.”