By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — Woodland’s first-year boys tennis coach Ryan McEvoy is more than the new guy on the coaching block, he’s also in his first year of teaching at the high school.
McEvoy came to Woodland in December to teach history. During the interview process, Woodland athletic director Chris Decker noticed that McEvoy, who played tennis at Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, had some experience with the game. So, Decker asked if he would be interested in coaching the boys team and replacing former head coach Mike Magas, who had stepped down.
McEvoy not only stepped into a new teaching position at Woodland, he also took over the reins of a program that reached the Naugatuck Valley League semifinals in 2019.
“I played four years at Lyman Hall, so I know a little bit about the game of tennis,” McEvoy said. “I love the environment at Woodland. It’s a great place to be and the student-athletes are so committed.”
McEvoy attended the University of Connecticut, where he continued to play tennis on a club team. After a short stint teaching at a Norwich Middle School, the new head coach and teacher found his way to Beacon Falls and the high school nestled on the hill overlooking rural Route 42.
The new coach likes what he sees so far from his young group of eager players looking to take the court by storm this spring.
“I realize since the 2020 season was cancelled we are basically starting from the ground up,” McEvoy said. “But what has impressed me the most was the attitude of the players.”
“They were coming up to me asking when we can get outside on the courts and there was still two feet of snow on the ground,” he continued. “These guys are so eager, and it’s that kind of attitude that has me believing we are going to be very successful.”
The team has only nine players on the roster this season, but McEvoy pointed out the Hawks have a very good leader in senior Austin Roberts and the players are committed.
“The commitment I have been seeing in this team has me feeling very confident that we have a decent chance to compete and win this league,” he said.
Since most of the teams in the Naugatuck Valley League are starting back up from scratch, there can be some exciting days ahead on the courts at Woodland.
“The goal is to continue what this team has been building on the past several seasons. Contend for a league title and to make the state tournament,” McEvoy said. “With the desire and strong work ethic I have seen from this team, these are very real and attainable goals.”