Years of teaching tennis lessons couldn't quite prepare Matt Kiser for taking the reins as tennis coach for the boys' program at Air Academy.
Now, after getting that firsthand experience, Kiser hopes to build on a solid season in which the Kadets beat longtime rival Cheyenne Mountain in a dual for the first time and qualified six of their seven entries to the 4A state tournament.
"Seeing these guys as young adults and learning their personalities was a nice challenge for me," said Kiser, an elementary school teacher at Woodmen-Roberts Elementary School who was tabbed to replace the retired Ron Gorr, the team's coach since 2002. "I got a new grasp on how they thought and how they competed, and you're always pleasantly surprised when you have so many make it to state."
Air Academy finished a close second to Cheyenne Mountain at the regional tournament, just six points separating the schools.
"The kids worked hard for it, and it's always nice to see them do well," Kiser said. "Instead of losing eight seniors, we're only losing four this year, so hopefully the success of the program will keep it moving forward."