116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Randy Krejci has plenty to keep him busy and wasn't looking for a return to coaching.
A longtime teacher and administrator with the Cedar Rapids Community School District, he retired in 2012 from his principal's position at Harding Middle School. Since then Krejci has continued as the commissioner of the Mississippi Valley Conference, a position he's held since 1999, along with working in a variety of roles with the IHSAA and IGHSAU.
Then came a meeting this winter with Waterloo West athletics director Anthony Pappas.
"They needed an assistant boys’ tennis coach," Krejci said. "I was up there for a basketball game and Dr. Pappas asked me if I would help out.
"I got strong armed into it," he added with a laugh.
So Krejci, who hadn't coached since leading the Kennedy girls’ program from 1980-87, agreed to assist Wahawks head coach John Aldridge Jr. this spring.
"It's been a long time since I've been in a team picture," he said.
It didn't hurt that Krejci already had a relationship with Aldridge.
"John and I are the same age and we graduated from UNI the same year," Krejci said. "Ironically, John's father was my supervising teacher in fall of 1975 so I've known the family for quite some time. It's been nice to get together with him again, but those 105-mile round trips get a little old.
"I've really enjoyed it. We only have seven kids out, so the record hasn't been that great, but it has been enjoyable working with them."
State tournament update
One of Krejci's roles with the state associations is running the state tennis tournaments. For the past several years, the Class 2A boys’ singles and doubles tournament has been held at the Veterans Memorial Tennis Center in Cedar Rapids.
Last year's derecho damaged the facility, much of it related to the fencing around the courts. There still are repairs to be made, but, as of now, the plan is to have the two-day event back in Cedar Rapids.
The 1A tournament is scheduled for Byrnes Park in Waterloo.
"Our plans call for Veterans Memorial Tennis Center for Class 2A singles and doubles and Byrnes Park Tennis Center on Waterloo for Class 1A," said IHSAA Director of Officials Lewie Curtis, who also serves as the administrator in charge of tennis. "Both venues have work to do to get the facilities fully ready for May 28-29, but we believe they will have the work completed in time to use those facilities."
The boys’ team state meets are scheduled for June 1. Class 2A will be in Ankeny while Class 1A will be played in Des Moines.
Girls’ state singles and doubles will be held June 2-3. Class 2A will be at Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex in Iowa City while Class 1A will be at Byrnes Park. Team state meets will be on June 5. Class 2A will be at Johnston High School Tennis Center with 1A to be held at the Ankeny Prairie Ridge Sports Complex.
There is plenty of sibling rivalry within the Cedar Rapids Washington boys’ tennis program. Coach Tom Neff has four sets of brothers playing for the Warriors this year.
There are the Caseys (Ben and Sam), the Tjadens (Wyatt and Ethan), the Whites (Thor and Slade) and a trio of Dorrances (John, Caden and Eric). On top of that, the top two players for the boys’ and girls’ programs are siblings Grayson and Kathryn Zylstra. Their mother, Tiffany, was the Warriors’ top singles player when she attended Washington.
Needless to say, the competitive spirit comes out among the family members.
"During conditioning when we do relay races you can see the competition come out between all the siblings if they are running against each other," Neff said. "I would say it is friendly competition but a little extra effort is usually put forth.
"Probably the best thing is that several of the brothers are split between JV and varsity. That has encouraged the two teams to get out and support each other."