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Playing in its first season since 2004, Wallace State’s men’s tennis didn’t miss a beat during the 2017 season. The Lions won the 2017 Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 championship in their inaugural season since the program’s reboot and finished 19th at the national tournament among a field of 26 teams.
Under the direction of coach Tony Franklin and assistant Tim Garner, the Wallace State men’s tennis team closed the regular season with victories in three straight conference matches before outlasting Marion Military Institute in the conference finals at Decatur’s Point Mallard.
Wallace State was led individually by sophomores Clint Watson and Damon Calvert and freshmen Cade Pressnell and Donny Camp. Watson played in the team’s No. 1 slot and picked up key singles victories at the conference tournament and the national event, as did Pressnell, Calvert and Camp.
Pressnell and Calvert and Camp and Watson made up the Lions’ top doubles teams. Toddric Stallworth and Luke Bowden also picked up an important doubles victory at the conference tournament.
Hunter Manley, Check Freeman, Alex Carter and Jacob Lambert also made up the 2017 ACCC Championship team.
Before the Wallace State tennis programs were discontinued in 2004, they accounted for four of the seven NJCAA national titles earned by Wallace State athletics and won multiple conference championships. The men’s program won NJCAA Division II titles in 1995 and 1996 and the women in 1995 and 1999.
Franklin, 56, has been around the game his entire life. He played tennis at Sulligent High School and played collegiately at the former Brewer State College (now Bevill State) in Fayette and Huntingdon College in Montgomery. He earned his master’s degree at Auburn University – Montgomery.
Before inheriting the Wallace State post, Franklin spent 26 seasons as tennis coach at Benjamin Russell High School in Alexander City, where he coached both the boys’ and girls’ programs throughout his career.
One of Franklin’s favorite aspects about tennis is the life lessons it teaches you throughout the course of a match.
“Tennis is a match full of problem solving. That’s what life is. You go to work every day and have to solve problems,” Franklin said. “I like to instill mental toughness in my players. When things don’t go well in a match, you can’t pout and get mad. You have to think about what your opponent is doing, what you are doing and how you can change things to be successful.”
For more information about Wallace State tennis, contact Franklin at 256.496.2148 or firstname.lastname@example.org