A new face will be at the helm of Central High School’s tennis program this year.

The Indians hired Tommy Castronovo Jr. as the next head boys and girls tennis coach.

“I’m excited because this is something I want to do. I love playing tennis, I love being in the game and in the sport,” Castronovo said.

Castronovo began his high school coaching career three years ago at Holland High School in Michigan, where he coached both boys and girls tennis on the junior varsity and varsity levels.

The Geneva, Illinois, native is a a United States Professional Tennis Association Certified Tennis Instructor, entering his first varsity head coaching gig.

“This is the first time I’ll be able to leave my name on something and set the standard of how I want the team to be run, how I want the kids to act, how I want our condition level to be,” Castronovo said.

“I could not be more excited for our tennis student-athletes at Central,” Athletic Director Dave Lau said in a statement. “We are very fortunate to hire someone with Tommy’s experience to lead both programs.”

Castronovo works full time at the Genesis Health Club in St. Joseph, where he already has met many members of the Central community.

“I know current players, and I know future players as well, which is really nice because the goal of a good program is to have a good pipeline,” Castronovo said. “We’re just trying to encourage people to come play regardless, and learn how to play.”

With tennis always at the forefront of his career, Castronovo’s move to St. Joseph in 2018 turned out out to be a blessing in disguise.

“I was a on a job website and I saw St. Joseph. In my head, it said MI. In real life, it said MO. but I didn’t know this until I applied and a day later I heard back from Mike Woody, who is the national director of all the clubs for Genesis.”

Woody invited Castronovo out to the “Show-Me” state for an interview, and the rest is history.

“I like the town. It’s a similar town to the town I was in at Holland,” Castronovo said. “So it worked out. I came here and I’ve been here ever since.”

Playing the sport since he was 12 years old, Castronovo knows the ins and outs of competing in tennis.

He played four years of high school tennis at St. Francis College Preparatory, and one year of college tennis at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

As he gears up for his new role, Castronovo hopes to make a lasting impact on the student-athletes.

“That’s why I want to get into coaching. That’s why I want to continue to do that just because I love making relationships with kids and I love learning about them, I love meeting their families. It’s more than just tennis to me with all that stuff,” Castronovo said.

Castronovo plans to meet his team once the Indians are able to practice together on July 6, the start date for phase two of the St. Joseph School District’s Summer Athletics Re-entry Plan.

Micaela Dea can be reached at micaela.dea@newspressnow.com.

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Micaela Dea is a sports reporter for News-Press NOW. She graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Growing up in San Diego, Micaela loves to travel, meet new people, and tell stories. Have a story idea? Don't hesitate to email!