Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

April 16, 2014

GIRLS TENNIS: Howard County preview

Kokomo, Eastern look strong once again

After 39 seasons and counting as the boys tennis coach at Taylor High School, Dave Wise is entering his 24th season leading the Titan girls.

And, it’s safe to say when he stares out across the fence at his opposing coaches and players, there aren’t many faces he doesn’t recognize due to his vast experience around the Howard County tennis circuit.

This season, he’ll be seeing a face especially familiar to him, as his daughter, Kathie Layden, takes over the girls program at Northwestern.

“They used to say ‘Imitation is the highest form of flattery,’” Wise said. “I’m really honored they decided to coach,” noting that his son, Mike, was previously that boys coach at Northwestern.

”Kathie understands sports so well,” Dave added. “I don’t know that we missed more than one or two of her athletic contests during her career, and this just seems like an extension of her playing days, because you just get caught up watching her coach and enjoying that part of it.”

Wise helped guide his daughter to a 67-11 record during her four years as the Titans’ No. 1 singles player. In Layden’s senior year in 1994, Taylor went 16-2 as a team and won a regional title before falling to Homestead in the semistate finals. She went 22-1 as an individual that year, running through the season undefeated until a loss in that final match with Homestead.

”In high school, tennis was her third sport,” Dave said. “Basketball was obviously No. 1, but she was an all-conference player all four years in volleyball, too. Tennis is that way for a lot of people. Good athletes pick up tennis easily just because of athletic ability. And, it’s a nice change of pace to work with kids individually rather than the team concept of plays and defenses. And the other thing is that her daughters are going to be good tennis players, too, so we’ll enjoy that.”

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