Farmer replaces Sullivan as DHS tennis coach
Eight years ago Michael Sullivan arrived at De Soto High School aiming at turning the Wildcats into a tennis powerhouse.
Last week Sullivan and his family decided he — along with the tremendous competitors he saw shuffle in and out of the high school — had accomplished that goal.
Now, it’s time to move on.
“I’m really proud that for both the girls and the boys, when we got to tournaments, the teams that face us say ‘Oh no, we have to face De Soto,’” Sullivan said. “That’s something I’m very proud of. We built that reputation.”
Sullivan is a member of the National Guard and there is a possibility of future deployment. That option, accompanied by the weekend training sessions with his unit, made Sullivan realize it was time to spend as much time with his family as possible.
“I told the teams about it last fall,” he said. “With the possibility of me going overseas in the future, I wanted to make sure I had some extra time at home with my girls, who are 7 and 4.”
Even knowing the move would allow more time to be spent with loved ones, Sullivan said the decision was not easy. Mostly, he will miss the relationships he has forged with his players.
“The time I spent with my players is something I will never forget,” he said. “There are players I’ll stay in touch with for years and years.”
The future of De Soto tennis is in the hands of William Farmer. Farmer was originally recruited out of Paola High School to attend Friends University. After a short stint at Friends, Farmer transferred to Johnson County Community College and later Emporia State.
“Friends University taught me the most about what I know about coaching,” he said. My coach told me I would be a better coach than a player, not because of my talent, but because of my knowledge of the game.”
Farmer has helped out with Paola’s program and has offered individual lessons and assisted the women’s coach at Friends.
Farmer said his background in collegiate tennis would transfer over into his coaching philosophies at De Soto.
“I expect to run a little more of a college-style program,” he said. “I’m going to try to focus on conditioning and the mental aspects of the game.”
Farmer will begin execution of this plan before school starts, as he plans to make contact with Sullivan and arrange some hitting and conditioning sessions this summer for returning players.
“Getting them early in their careers and teaching them the fundamentals that can take them to the next level is something I’m really excited about,” Farmer said.