A two-time state champion tennis player and former Fort Hays State University tennis coach, Michael Willey has been named to replace longtime Cowboy coach Mike Jantz at Abilene High School.

Jantz retired from his teaching and coaching responsibilities at the end of the just completed school year.

Willey, who has been Jantz’s assistant coach for the past several years, earned his Kansas State championships in the early 90s playing doubles with Jordy Canfield white attending Abilene High School. Willey and Canfield qualified for the state tournament three times during their high school career, earning gold their final two seasons. During his junior campaign, the Cowboys won the Class 4A State Team Title.

Upon graduation from AHS, Willey played tennis while attending Bethany College. He later transferred to Fort Hays State University to get his college degree.

Willey was named the Fort Hays State University women’s assistant tennis coach upon completion of his degree and spent almost four years at that position. He next moved to Hays High School to be in charge of the boys and girls tennis program, a post he held for the next four years.

Eventually, Willey accepted an elementary PE teaching position back in his home town of Abilene and he returned to coaching as he worked with head coach Garry Stredney, who had been his high school coach, and Jantz as they continued the winning tradition of Cowboy tennis.

“I am really excited to come in and take over a program that I have been associated with for the last 15 years,” Willey said. “I am looking forward to continuing Abilene’s long tradition of winning the North Central Kansas League.

“We have the streak going winning the NCKL and we are going to try to keep that going,” Willey added. “We are going to be a little young this coming year in tennis but I expect big things here coming down the line.”

Contact Ron Preston at sports@abilene-rc.com.

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