Boca Raton News - Williams has five-year plan for St. Andrew’s tennis
High Schools: Tennis
Published Thursday, March 11, 2004 11:00 pm
by Tom Glucksmann
John Fogleman led the St. Andrew’s boys and girls’ tennis teams to four state
titles in his long and successful tenure as head coach at the private school in
Scott Williams stepped into the very big shoes left behind when Fogleman retired
after the 2003 season.
Williams, however, brings an extensive tennis background to the team.
He has played tennis for Eastern Washington University, he has coached at Nick
Bollettieri’s academy on the west coast of Florida and he runs two tennis
instruction schools in the Boca Raton area.
Williams has taught top European players while living in Austria in the late
1980s. While at Bollettieri’s he worked with players like Tommy Haas.
His businesses – the Complete Player Institute and Matchpoint Ministry – focus
on teaching the game to junior tennis players.
Williams, 40, hopes to use his extensive experience to return the Scots to the
dominant team they once were in the early to mid 1990s.
The first obstacle will be figuring out how to get past district rival American
Heritage, which swept the boys and girls’ state titles last year.
“Honestly, to even begin competing with them, I’m projecting five or six years,”
Williams said. “With [athletics director] Dave Ahern I’m looking to really build
the program to another level.”
In high school tennis, only the district champion has a chance to advance to the
state tournament, so St. Andrew’s will have to match the talent of the Stallions
or hope for district realignment.
With Williams at the helm, the former is possible.
“There’s already such a big change,” team co-captain Aarti Mahtani said. “Next
year they’ll have a great team.”
“There’s been a huge change,” added co-captain Adam Wulcan, who has been on the
school’s tennis team for seven years.
“There’s more emphasis on how in shape you are,” added co-captain John Backer.
The themes of intensity and fitness have been emphasized more already in the
young tennis season, agreed co-captain Christina Varvarikos.
But the most interesting addition to the team that Williams brings to the team
may be his strong faith.
“We pray before every match,” Varvarikos. “It’s different. It brings the team
Williams said he decided to start his faith-based Matchpoint Ministry because
fellowship was something he noticed was missing in the realm of top-level
Even though he had established himself as a successful coach by the mid-1990s,
Williams said, “I was enjoying the good life, but I realized something was
Matchpoint Ministry now offers three different programs. The first offers tennis
instruction to underprivileged children. The program is based out of Veteran’s
Park in west Boca Raton.
The second part of the program brings those players to teaching sites at the
Athletic Club in Boca Raton, and the Deer Creek Resort in Deerfield Beach for
And the third part of the non-profit Matchpoint Ministry is a professional
outreach program headed by Ryan Fitzwilliam.
Fitzwilliam, one of the top players in the men’s 30s division in Florida,
travels to professional tournaments and “organizes networks with churches, gets
housing and offers fellowship,” Williams said.
“As far as the spiritual world [in professional tennis] it’s really tough,” he
added. “It’s easy to get lost with the money and the girls ...”
Williams helps run both businesses with the help of eight coaches. He also is
the teaching pro at Deer Creek Resort, where he says he gets to practice his
fluent German, learned in Austria.
“I really work at [my German] here,” he said. “We have kind of a German colony
at Deer Creek. We get a lot of Germans coming here. I speak German almost every
What initially brought Williams to the right coast of Florida in 1999 was an
opportunity to coach former Grandview Prep boys’ No. 1 Drew Hill. Hill now plays
for Rollins College.
Williams also said a visit to the Spanish River Church convinced him to move to
“They have a unique way of sharing their message,” Williams said. “It was like
theatre. They were talking about sharing your talents with others, and after I
got injured I took a long hard look at what I was doing.”
The injury – torn ligaments in a knee – occurred while Williams was living in
Europe in the late 1980s and sidelined him from playing and coaching.
It happened while he was doing his first athletic love – skiing. Williams said
he was once a top junior freestyle skier in his home state of Washington.
He has also written a best-selling book on tennis – Serious Tennis.
St. Andrew’s team captains said he will give players a copy of the book as a
Williams couldn’t help but exude happiness over his spot as the team’s head
“At first I wasn’t really sure, because I had a lot on my plate,” he said.
But after an interview with some of the school’s administrator in August of last
year, he realized that he “was in a special place.”
“To get out in front of 30 kids and have them all listening [is special],”
“For them to be calling me and excusing their absences and their character under
fire, I’m really shocked. I know there’s great kids all over the world, but it’s
a pleasure to coach them.”
Williams has one daughter – two-year old Jasmine Noelle – and is married to
He hopes to construct a record board at the Scots’ new tennis facility.
“There’s so much heritage over there. I want to get that history up on the
fences, with John Fogleman’s name,” he said.
Serious business being a captain
Wulcan, Backer, Mahtani and Varvarikos, all 18, described the somewhat rigorous
process of becoming a St. Andrew’s team captain.
Each had to write a letter to Williams, explaining why they wanted to be a
captain. Players and coaches then voted for the player they wanted to be
captain. The final decision came down to Williams, however.
Captain duties include leading running and stretching and said Mahtani,
“organizing group activities, team dinners and things that will improve the team
as a group.”
Spanish River’s Franza lending a hand
Cristavoa Franza is an assistant coach under Williams for St. Andrew’s. Franza
is a student at Florida Atlantic University and played one of the top singles
positions for Spanish River High School last year.