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Conradt retires as tennis coach

By Murray Gleffe

Correspondent


ASHWAUBENON-Scott Conradt has been coaching the game of tennis for the past 14 years at Ashwaubenon High School and now he has decided to step down as head coach.

The 2018 season was different from the rest for the long-time coach

His son Bailey (who played varsity all four years) was graduating and heading off to UW-Madison in the fall.

“About midway through the season, it kicked in that this was the last year I’d be coaching, and I wanted to enjoy the time with him and the rest of the team,” said Conradt.

The main reason for retirement is Conradt has two daughters who are actively involved in softball, tennis, and youth activities at their church.

He said it was especially hard this year for him because softball and tennis overlapped many times due to the April blizzard that forced multiple cancellations in a two-week span.

“I missed a lot of games that my daughters Karleigh and Kennedy played in and I felt crushed,” Conradt said. “I would be at a tennis meet, but at the same time be wondering how they were doing. That was the turning point.”

Conradt started his teaching career in the early 1990s at Verona High School before settling back into the Greater Green Bay area.

He is a 1988 graduate of Ashwaubenon High School.

In 1995, a science position opened up at Parkview Middle School and 23 years later he is still going strong.

A decade into Conradt’s professional career, former Ashwaubenon Principal Dave Steavpack was looking for a tennis coach with stability.

The program had gone through four coaches in five years.

“I remember the interview like it was yesterday (laughing),” said Conradt. “He just relayed to me that if I were to get the job to just let them play tennis and not to step in and screw it up. I was a baseball and basketball guy in high school. I agreed to do it for one year and then year after year they couldn’t find anybody, so I stayed with it.”

After accepting the tennis job in 2005 he recruited current physical education teacher and former Jaguars basketball coach Kevin Phillips to be his assistant.

“We had 52 guys out the first year and we didn’t have a clue what we were doing,” Conradt said. “We fed balls and let them play their matches. The nice thing about tennis, though, is it is an objective sport with challenge matches. It is cut and dry 95 percent of the time. Doubles can be difficult at times, but the kids that are playing deserve to be on the court.”

To be knowledgeable about the game, Conradt said he went out and bought tennis drill books and went to two seminars to become better at coaching.

It also helped that the two facilities (Ashwaubenon Sports Complex and Pioneer Park) the Jaguars use got upgraded from six to seven courts and added benches and windscreens during Conradt’s tenure.

“When we added two courts for our JV and Varsity teams, it made it so much easier for not only the kids but the coaches as well,” Conradt said. “It’s difficult enough to not play at the high school, but the addition of the amenitites definitely helped our program.”

Not only does he own the most tennis victories in school history with 148, but he has coached and sent 21 flights (including Brandon and Jon Bodager, James Christensen, David Clark, Andrew Gehring, David Kelley, Kole Kolinski, Abrar Mian, Brad Tschoeke, and Sam Wisneski to name a few) to individual state, won two conference championships, and went to team state in 2015.

“At the end of the day, it isn’t about me,” said Conradt. “These kids are the ones that put in all of the work in the offseason and I had them for about nine weeks out of the year. The wins and losses don’t matter to me. What I do remember is when a former student comes up to me and tells me he’s doing well in life.”

In the past 20 years, according to Conradt, the game has gone from a serve and volley to a power baseline game. Top high school kids are taught to hit big and finish the point. The fitness aspect has also become a major step in high school athletics.

“I remember back when I started we’d have the kids run around the block and stretch for around two to three minutes,” said Conradt. “Now they have specific trainers for every sport, and every muscle out there. You can also pull up information readily on your phone after a lift or run to see how you did.”

There still won’t be much free time for Conradt (part-time youth and family director at St. Johns) as he will continue to serve students’ needs at his local church. He recently went on a mission to the Buffalo Bayou in Houston, Texas where he and 17 kids cleaned up the area.  

“I want to thank my family for being incredibly patient with me all these years with their father missing after school,” Conradt said. “I owe a ton of gratitude to my wife Brenda for always taking care of things while I was out coaching.”

With time, the Northeast Wisconsin Tennis Hall of Fame could be adding the name Scott Conradt to the list of greats.

 

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