One thing has been constant for Avon tennis over the past 33 years — coach Stan Malless.
However, that will not be the case next season as the long-tenured Malless retired following his last girls match in May.
Filling those large shoes will be Robert Mize, who was named the new boys’ tennis coach at Avon at the June 5 board meeting.
“It is an honor (to take over for Malless), obviously,” Mize said. “It’s not every day that you get to take over for a Hall of Fame coach.”
In addition, Mize hopes to continue the momentum that Malless has created and take it into the upcoming years. Like Malless, Mize runs his own summer tennis camp and encourages his participants to also join Malless’ camp.
“I think that we’re in a good position now,” he said. “We have a lot of kids, not only in our Mize tennis camp, but Stan still has his camp running. We have 46 kids this summer (in the Mize camp). You can’t play too much tennis.”
Mize is also encouraged with the expanding popularity of tennis in the area and that should lead to more and more quality players coming through the program.
“Tennis is really growing and becoming popular again, especially in the Hendricks County area,” Mize said. “I expect there to be good tennis around here for the foreseeable future.”
Though the position is a new role for Mize, the Avon program is not. He has held down a head coaching position at Avon Middle School South for the past several seasons.
Mize said his squad went undefeated this year and has only lost four matches in the past two years.
Prior to this, Mize, who is originally from Kokomo, graduated from IUPUI where he lettered on the men’s tennis team from 1988 to 1991. During that time, Mize overcame some obstacles.