A coach’s impact: 31 years with Eau Claire Memorial tennis

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Out of all boys tennis teams in the Big Rivers Conference, Eau Claire Memorial has, by far, the most playoff appearances with 23 total and 14 straight. As a team, Memorial has won the conference title, every year, since 1996 and many before that.

They say consistency is key and for as long as Memorial has had boys tennis, the program has only gone through two coaches.

“I always tell the kids, the longer we go each season I stay employed,” said Head Coach Jim Litscher.

Litscher has led the Abes for more than 30 years now. His love for the game started when he was 10 or 11 years old and has been in these boys’ shoes. He played in high school, later went on to play collegiately, and became a teaching pro before bringing his expertise to Eau Claire.

“I don’t sugarcoat too much. You know, I and the kids know that. I would say that we try to combine play in our practices so they push each other. Drills so they can work on strokes and then competitive drills that we can kind of look like game situations but aren’t,” Coach said.

When asked about what’s led to this program’s dominance, Coach Litscher is humble, taking very little credit.

“Of course, I’ve had a lot of help … they’re all very excellent coaches. But it’s really about the kids. It’s their season. It’s what they want to do with it. And we i’ve been lucky to have kids that want to do a lot”

But when you ask his players...

“I love Litscher as a coach because he’s clearly one of the most knowledgeable and like most decorated coaches in Wisconsin. And he’s been around for so long and he’s just really been great for our program, like for boys and girls. He’s going to tell you as it is because he knows everyone’s full potential and he just wants to make sure everyone can reach it,” said Bennett Kohlhepp.

“Litscher obviously as a quite a bit of knowledge. He’s done it for years and years and his approach to coaching and practicing really pays off in the matches, just working really hard for every single point. He teaches that well in practice too,” Seth Roosevelt said.

“Yeah coach is a great, I guess, role model for all of us. He’s always, you know, collected and no matter what the situation is, he always has a plan he holds us accountable. You know, he’s not going to let you slide if you do something you’re not supposed to and I think that really helps just further you as a player and make sure you continue to get better,” said Grant Johnson.

Litscher’s leadership has been big on and off the courts.

“I’ve definitely changed as a person and as a player. I’ve changed my outlook on the game and i’ve definitely gained some competitiveness,” Johnson said.

“They come in and they’re, you know, young guys and then they leave as young men and that is that’s a lot of fun,” Litscher said.

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