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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 Boca Raton.
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 together.”
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 tennis.
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 missing.”
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 further instruction.
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 day.”
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 Boca Raton.
“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 reward sometimes.
Williams couldn’t help but exude happiness over his spot as the team’s head tennis coach.
“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],” Williams said.
“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 Candace Williams.
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.
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