For the past fifteen years, Dan Slider has been a fixture in the Williamston High School tennis program, both for the boys and the girls. He has worked under six varsity coaches and helped the girls win a state championship in 2010. He started volunteering when his son Robert joined the team in 2000 as a freshman. By his senior year, Robert was playing one doubles. But long after he left, Dan remained.
“I learned to play doubles as an adult under Sue Selke at Court One,” says Dan. “I love the tactical challenge of the doubles game.” As a result, he has directed this love toward Williamston doubles teams. “I love finding a way to give my kids the best chance to win and teaching them how to put themselves in that position,” he says.
This was especially evident during that state championship year, directed by head Steve Stanley (Coach of the Year in 2010). “Steve was really excellent at stroke development and drills,” he says. “Since I know next to nothing about singles, he gave me the assignment of handling our doubles teams and I had some terrific athletes to work with. We won a lot of matches that year by sweeping the doubles flights and taking the number one singles court. At the state tournament we got all four doubles flights into the finals and my #3 team completed an undefeated season (44-0) by winning the title. We got just enough points from our singles players, and some help from the other top contenders taking points away from each other, to win it by three points. That was in 2008. The team came within one point of another championship two years later.”
According to current boys coach Nate Schwarzbek, Dan does it all:
And he does so much without prompting. “He goes far and beyond any reasonable expectation I could set for an assistant coach,” says Nate. “Even during the past year, he helped out while battling a serious case of Sciatica.”
“He does all the little things that help make a program run,” confirms Portland’s Jim Niebling who played doubles with Dan on a 3.5 team at Sue Selke’s Court One – they made it to Nationals. “He knows his stuff. When playing Williamston when Dan is around, I know that winning any of the doubles flights will be a challenge.”“He is a gentleman who competes with dignity, which is the way he teaches his kids to play,” continues Jim. “It is exactly like him to compliment opponents for their successes without a hint of envy. He genuinely means it. He is thoughtful and considerate to a fault.”