Girls tennis coach of the year: Whiting’s Arthur Young
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent June 26, 2013 9:50PM
Updated: July 30, 2013 8:10AM
WHITING — There’s a fitting twist that goes with the commemorative circular sign on the fence of the Piatek Tennis Courts in Whiting.
Back in April, the tennis complex at Whiting Park was dedicated to the same woman who went from playing for Whiting to hitting the courts of Wimbledon — Mary Lou Piatek. In essence the Oilers’ tennis history extends beyond the recent successes that have really established their girls program as a threat in the area.
Whiting tennis coach Arthur Young, who earned his history degree from Indiana University, likes associating with the past.
“Our history, as well as our present, is catching up with us,” Young said while stepping to the side from the community camp he helps with during the summer.
Recent history has been pretty solid for Young and the Oilers.
He took over the team as a coach with minimal tennis experience (he was a football and basketball player growing up), who hadn’t picked up a racket until playing with some friends in college. By the spring of 2007 he led the girls to their first of five sectional titles. Though Young took a couple of seasons off in between, since his return, the girls have made back-to-back trips in the regional final to face Munster in 2012 and 2013. This past season’s continued success earned Young the Post-Tribune Girls Tennis Coach of the Year honor.
“We went from kind of a sport for girls to do, to something they can compete in,” said Young, who sharpened his skills over the seasons by reading books, watching other teams’ strategies, and looking at tennis videos on YouTube. “I think it got me to a point where it wasn’t so technical at first — but, it was a love for the sport and a love to win.”
The 2013 schedule was frustrating for many clubs throughout Northwest Indiana with weeks of rainouts, but the Oilers had a hot start for the campaign. They won each of their first 10 matches. By the time the team suffered its first loss, it was at the hands of a tough opponent. Young took the opportunity to grab matches with the bigger schools after the inclement weather altered multiple schedules.
“I feel like we actually turned a corner this season,” he said of the 16-4 finish.
Longtime Highland boys and girls coach Adam Baez was an addition to the staff. While Young worked with singles players like Baez’s freshman daughter Brianna (No. 2 singles), No. 1 player Grace Huss and No. 3 Maira Huizar, Adam Baez used his background in doubles to help steer that side.
Before going out in a hard-fought 5-0 loss in the regional final, Whiting stopped Andrean’s much improved showing with a 3-2 win in the semifinal round. Huizar picked up the deciding point in that match with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win.
“I’m really proud of my team, and the year we had, and the way he coached us overall,” said Huizar, who came out for tennis after being a manager for Young during her eighth-grade year.
To Young, another important moment in Whiting’s growing history would be to make it to the next level.
“I feel like we’ve got another chance to step up the ladder and get better,” he said.