Massac County high tennis program at risk of being cut

A local high school’s tennis program is at risk of winding down for good.

For years, the Massac County High School tennis program practiced and held matches at Metropolis City Courts, but city leaders say they need to convert some of those to basketball courts. The tennis team says they’ve enjoyed the time they’ve had, while the city says they just can’t swing it.

He’s been teaching swings for six years, and Massac County tennis coach Brandon McKinney says it’s a sport his athletes can hit cross-court for years. He says: “I’m just happy to teach them something they can do throughout high school.”

But, with the program at risk of being cut altogether, McKinney says it’s not the sport or the number of athletes that are the problem. It’s the courts. He says: “No one wants to see it go away, and we will continue doing the best we can.”

That’s because making the court repairs is going to cost the city an estimated $175,000, and that’s money they just don’t have.

Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel says it’s expensive, but he hopes the city can support the school in other ways. He says: “The tennis courts were there. We wanted them used. We want to benefit the school system as much as we can.”

Massac County High School athletic director Parker Windhorst says he’s grateful for the city’s help, but now they have to make a difficult decision. He says: “It’s been good having that sport since the early ’00s, but if we don’t have a place, like I said, we’ll have to answer those questions.”

But until that decision, the team will rally. McKinney says: “As long as my bosses say we have tennis, I want to coach tennis.”

McDaniel says they will convert two of the four courts to basketball courts Oct. 8. This will allow the team to finish the fall season, but Windhorst says they will have to travel in the spring season.

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