The Centerville tennis courts have long been home for Courtney Ecker.
She played there, coached there and spent summers teaching the game there.
Thursday will mark a new occasion for the former Bulldog and Indiana University East standout — she’ll come to those same courts as the visitor.
Ecker guides her Hagerstown Tigers to Centerville for a match between two of the top teams in the Tri-Eastern Conference. It also is the first time Courtney will coach against her father, longtime Bulldog boss Randy Ecker.
“I learned everything that I know from my dad,” Courtney said.
She also has helped her father as a Centerville assistant in the past.
Courtney is in her first year as Hagerstown’s head coach. The Tigers remained undefeated in TEC play with Tuesday’s 5-0 victory over Union City.
Centerville, too, is currently perfect in the conference. The Bulldogs have another tough challenge in front of them today when they travel to face Northeastern.
“It’s going to be different,” Courtney said. “I love the team that I’m coaching, but it’s going to be hard going against guys I have coached since they were little growing up.”
Courtney Ecker graduated from Centerville in 2008, and was undefeated as a player in the regular season. She finished with an 83-4 overall record in tennis.
She went on to play at Indiana Tech, then transferred to IU East, where she became an Academic All-American with the Red Wolves.
“The kids really like her. It really makes us happy to know,” Randy Ecker said. “I knew she could do this. She’s been around this forever.
“I think they’ve really taking a liking to her, and her to them. I think she’s built a nice bond with those kids and done some nice things. I think it will only get better.”
Randy Ecker is in his 35th season leading the Bulldogs. He also coaches Centerville’s girls tennis program.
The Bulldogs are the defending TEC champions. The conference’s annual tournament is Saturday and Monday.
Both Centerville and Hagerstown will also participate in the sectional tournament on Richmond’s Tiernan Center courts. The sectional starts Sept. 30.
Thursday’s match vs. the Tigers doubles as a Smash Cancer event.
“It’ll be fun,” Randy Ecker said. “It’s her first chance to have a team and play against the kids she’s worked with as well. Also, the fact that it’s a Smash Cancer event and it’s our senior night. … There are all kinds of things going on.”
Josh Chapin: (765) 973-4463 firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/JoshChapinPI