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2015 Boys tennis coach of the year: Doug Williams, Santa Margarita
Doug Williams was on site when Rancho Santa Margarita was as much of an idea as it was an actual city.
“There was nothing out here,” Williams recalled. “You could see everything being graded. There were one or two developments around the lake, an apartment complex across the street from the school. The closest super market at the time was a Ralph’s all the way by Trabuco Hills.”
One of the Santa Margarita High’s founding faculty members, Williams has served as the Eagles only tennis coach since the school’s inception 28 years ago. He has celebrated upwards of 55 CIF team titles doubling as the school’s Associate Athletic Director, but until this season, he had never brought a tennis title back to campus.
That changed this season when Williams and a senior-laden roster captured the school’s first CIF title in boys tennis, topping San Clemente in the Division 2 championship match.
For his efforts in leading the program to a crown of its own, Williams is the Register’s coach of the year for boys tennis.
“We’ve had a good program for some time, but being in Division 1, it was loaded with heavyweights,” said Williams, whose only other finals appearance came back in 1997. “Getting past the first or second round was a challenge. But I said it before, I felt very blessed that we had opportunity to do this our first year in Division 2. We had a group of kids that were ready for the situation.”
The Eagles won 20 straight matches spanning from mid-March to the CIF-SS final on May 22.
In between, Santa Margarita traveled to Tennessee and won the Deco Turf Championships, a trip Williams and his squad had never taken before during his tenure.
“It was a unifying experience and the boys rose to the challenge,” he added. “It set the stage for when we got to the end of regular season. Some of our doubles players had to play singles because of the college format. And that’s how we shaped our playoff lineup. Everyone had to give something because we needed points on both sides.”
Williams split up some of his top doubles teams in the postseason, a calculated move that garnered crucial points on the singles side that allowed the Eagles to win their first championship.
“Even if it never happens again, it has at least once,” Williams quipped. “(The seniors) have a bit of a legacy now. I’ll refer to this team and the importance of buying in and making sacrifices for years to come.”
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