By Joe Krivit
I recently sat down to talk with head tennis coach Steve Francour about the season thus far, his past experiences as a coach and the team’s prospects heading into the Midwest Conference (MWC) Championships. Francour became the head coach of the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Lawrence in the summer of 2013 after 23 years of head coaching experience at UW-Oshkosh.
At Oshkosh, he posted an overall record of 396-389 between the men’s and women’s teams, including coaching seven conference singles champions, four doubles champions and three appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament. His women’s team is currently wrapping up a season in which they will finish 5-4 in the MWC and 9-7 overall. They’re in great form heading into the MWC Championships after three straight wins.
The doubles tournament will be held this coming Saturday, Oct. 18 with the singles tournament being held the following day. Both Tournaments will be held at the Nielsen Tennis Center in Madison, Wis.
The team is currently on a three match win streak. What do you attribute this recent success to?
The team is starting to peak at the right time. We have prepared ourselves to play at our best for the conference tournament. It is a combination of the team working hard and getting comfortable with their game.
What are some of the most valuable things you learned there and what strategies are you carrying over to your new job here at Lawrence?
We try to find out what a player has for strengths and weaknesses and figure out how they can perform at their highest level. Tennis has many unique styles and techniques, and each player needs to know what makes them successful. After they get comfortable with their game, we have them implement it to matches.
What are your team’s greatest strengths?
This year’s squad is versatile. When we need to change doubles teams or have people fill in for singles, everyone is ready to go. They are a hard working group who is very coachable.
How has this season gone so far based on your expectations at the beginning of the season?
We finished in fifth place. That is better than last season. We had an opportunity to finish in the top four, but didn’t play quite good enough My expectations were to finish in the top half of the conference, and we did that.
How do you feel going into the MWC Championships this weekend?
We will be ready to play at a high level. I like our chances of getting some high places at each flight.