Coach Raphael takes boys tennis by storm

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New year, new season, new coach. This season, the boys varsity tennis team will come under the leadership of veteran coach Stuart Raphael, after two seasons with coach Mark Ifill.

Coach Raphael, who has almost thirty years of experience coaching tennis, began his coaching career at Bayside High School in the mid-eighties and after ten years he went to Carle Place High School in Long Island where he coached for another nineteen years. Now, he is beginning his first year with the Townsend Harris Hawks bringing with him a wealth of experience.

Junior Frankie Nicolazzi believes Raphael’s experience along with his personality will make the transition to a new coach quite easy. “The transition hasn’t been hard at all. Coach Raphael has been really great to all of us and pretty understanding. He has coached tennis before out in Long Island so it’s a nice change to have someone as experienced as he is.”

Fellow junior Romil Parikh agrees with this sentiment. He believes Raphael’s knowledge and understanding of the game is a favorable quality and will be an asset to the team. Furthermore, he is happy with the adjustments that Raphael is willing to make for the students; like the change in location of tennis practices from Cunningham Park to Kissena Park allowing kids to get home at a more reasonable hour.

This new coach change is one of multiple changes in tennis coaches at Townsend over the last few years.  This is the third coach in the last five years for the boys tennis team with the previous coaches being Marcelino Reynoso (2010-2011) and Ifill (2012-2013). Under Reynoso, the Hawks had a sub par performance of 24 season losses with 0 wins. Ifill, however, brought the Hawks back to a 12 win – 12 loss record over a two year period.

Despite the previous record, Raphael sees a lot of talent in many underclassmen. He further explained that he is expecting everyone to play hard and to the best of their ability.

Coach Raphael has had his fair share of coaching beyond tennis. more sports. He was also the basketball coach for Bayside and Carle Place with a combined experience of over thirty years for JV and Varsity teams and even added a year coaching at the college level.

Raphael is “thrilled to be at Townsend,” and is excited for the upcoming season. He expects and hopes to have a very successful season.  The Hawks will try to meet his expectations by continuing to improve upon their winning record of 7-5 from last year, their best performance in recent years.

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