By Rob Kiser
SIDNEY — After Kristy Sherman decided to step down as Lehman Catholic boys and girls tennis coach with two kids in college, who better to continue the Cavaliers strong tradition then one of its former playing greats?
Tuesday, Tim Ungericht accepted the position of Lehman varsity girls and boys tennis coach.
“You look at the tradition and history of this program,” Ungericht said. “Dave McBride got things started and you had Pippy Booth. And Kristy (Sherman) is Dave’s daughter. Those are some big names. It was always a dream of mine to come back and coach my alma-mater. This is the only job I would have taken.”
For those who may not remember, Ungericht played tennis at Lehman from 1987-89.
After qualifying for regionals as a junior in 1988 in singles, Ungericht played on what has to go down as the best boys tennis team Lehman ever fielded his senior year.
Andy Booth advanced to state that year in singles, while Ungericht and Chad New did the same in doubles.
“That is still the only team from Lehman to have three state qualifiers in the same year,” Ungericht said.
Ungericht went on to a successful playing career at Tri-State University, now known as Trine University.
He also coached there after graduating.
“I was graduate assistant and we went to nationals,” Ungericht said. “But, that was about 20 years ago.”
He is not without outside coaching experience.
Ungericht continues to play the game at a high level. He has won numerous tournaments, including the Piqua Open on multiple occasions.
He also plays at the USTA level.
“I have been captain of my USTA team the last four years,” Ungericht said. “Of course, I played too. But, I had to pick the combinations for singles and doubles and do a lot of things coaches would do. We finished third at the state tournament. So, I have had success at that and I think that will help. Along with 33 years of playing tennis. And I know a lot of coaches in the area from playing tennis with them. I think that is a plus.”
And Ungericht is glad to have Sherman help him with the transition.
“Without a doubt, I am grateful for that,” he said. “She is going to show me the paper work and some of the other coaching things you have to do and help me with the transition.”
Ungericht is more familiar with the boys program, who had two doubles teams advance to district last year, something that has become a tradition at Lehman.
“I know they had two doubles teams at district last year,” he said. “I helped coach them a few years ago, so I am more familiar with them. I know they had five seniors. It may take a year to get going, we will see.”
Ungericht will have to learn about the girls on his team on the fly. The girls play in the fall, while the boys play in the spring
“Our first practice is Aug. 1,” he said. “I think we have a match on Aug. 8. So, I am going to have to spend the first practice figuring out the combinations (who are going to play singles and doubles). I know we have three seniors.”
Ungericht wasn’t wasting any time.
He hoped to have open court Tuesday night, weather permitting.
“I wish I had more time (before the season),” he said. “But, I don’t. That is just the way it is. I am really excited to be able to come back and coach at Lehman. I can’t wait to get started.”
He knows first hand he has the advantage of coaching at a program with big expectations.
“There is nowhere else I would coach,” Ungericht said. “I know I have some big shoes to fill.”
And he looks to be the perfect “fit”.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.