Fossil Men’s tennis anticipates a new head coach

After the previous coach stepped down, a new coach will need to replace him for the 2022 season


Fossil Team Parent

Fossil’s Men’s varsity tennis team after placing third in the state tournament.

Seth Bylund, Staff Writer

Fossil Ridge High School’s tennis program has, in the last 10 years, grown into a powerhouse in the 5A division. Each year, the team’s record and finishing place in the state tournament gets better and better. Much of this is thanks to the incredible coaching staff that has been present for the last decade. At the head of this coaching staff was Steve Schultz, one of the best players and coaches in the nation. Although Schultz is the heart and soul of the team, he decided to retire after the 2021 season, leaving his position up for grabs with many people that wanted it. 

Schultz built the Fossil team up from essentially nothing in the years that he was the head coach. In his earliest years of coaching, there were seasons where not every varsity player was qualified for state. In the last four seasons, there has not been a single year where not all 11 players qualified for the state tournament. Additionally, the state tournament finishing placement has consistently improved. For the first few years that Schultz coached, the team did not place in the top 10. But, in the last four seasons, Fossil tennis placed in the top 10 every year. 

In fact, Fossil placed fourth in the 2020 season, and third in the 2021 season. Third place was the highest that the Fossil tennis team, or any other Poudre School District team, had ever placed; a great send-off for Coach Schultz’s final season. 

Schultz is a world-class player in both doubles and singles. He is one of the top ten 55+ doubles players in the nation. He is currently attempting to make the top four so he can play in international competitions representing the United States. His phenomenal playing subsequently led to phenomenal coaching and a great figure to look up to. On top of all that, he is sponsored by KSwiss and Dunlop, which are two rapidly growing tennis brands. He was able to give discounts on shoes, rackets, and strings to all of his players, making great tennis equipment very affordable for his team and their families.

Gabe Pagat, class of 2015 at Fossil, has been the assistant coach for the last five years and is a fantastic player himself. He is a great coach that has led the junior varsity team and was the head coach of the brand new C-Team this past season. He knows each player by name and knows their playstyle. Pagat would be the most ideal for the vacant head coaching position according to Alex Van Thuyne, who played #4 varsity doubles this past season. “I think Gabe would be a great coach because he has tons of experience with coaching and knows all the players,”. This is a shared opinion among many players. 

There are many other qualified coaches, including Steve Williams who is the head pro at Front Range Academy, and Tanner Trace who has been an assistant coach for the last two seasons and is a great player who is aspiring to be a college coach in his future. Trace, much like Pagat, is a player favorite because they are familiar with him and the way that he coaches. Zach Hartman, who played singles #2 on the Fossil team this past season, hopes to see Trace as a coach next season. 

The Fossil tennis team hopes to continue improving their place in the state tournament, and hope to find a coach that can live up to Schultz’s iconic decade-long legacy. Unfortunately, the players on the team have little to no say in who is appointed as head coach for the 2022 season, even though the decision affects the players the most. The Fossil tennis team hopes that a great coach will be selected to help expand Schultz’s legacy and help to keep Fossil as a tennis powerhouse