Updated 

Coaching changes at Denison


The search has been underway for a pair of new head coaches at Denison after openings due to recent resignations.

The athletic program is in the process of finding coaches to lead swimming and tennis with the hope to conclude that process by the middle of April, according to athletic director Chad Rogers.

Swim coach Joni Durham stepped down after her season ended this spring while Tom Faulkner will leave at the conclusion of the tennis season.

“We appreciate everything they have done for us at Denison,” Rogers said.

Faulkner took over the Denison tennis program prior to the 2007 season and seen success during both the fall and spring seasons.

“My time here was good. The program grew and it was better,” Faulkner said. “It’s time for a change. I’ve got some offers and I’m looking around right now.”

The Jackets had qualifiers for the Region II tournament in the spring of 2010, including a district champion in Andrea Armstrong — marking the first Denison players to make in that far for the first time in seven years while having multiple competitors was a first in more than 20 seasons.

That fall the Yellow Jackets qualified for the regional tournament in team tennis for the first time since 2003. Denison was the eighth seed and opened with a victory before losing to 22-time defending regional champ Highland Park in the quarterfinals.

Denison went back to the regional tournament in the fall of 2011 and lost its opening match to Frisco.

In 2012, Mary Claire Carlson and Stacy Bangerter were region qualifiers in mixed doubles and Tyler Cannon advanced in boys singles.

The Jackets went back to the regional tournament in the fall and won the consolation final with three victories following an opening round loss.

In the spring of 2013, Denison sent the mixed doubles team of Jenna Robinson and Jordan Penn-White and Cannon in boys singles to the regional tournament.

During this past fall season, the Jackets reached the 13-4A/14-4A area tournament and went 2-1 with wins over Sulphur Springs and Hallsville after opening with a loss to Texas High.

“The thing I’ve really enjoyed working at Denison, I’ve had some really good kids come through here,” Faulkner said. “We got a lot of kids to regionals where we hadn’t prior before that. I feel like I’ve left the program in a better place then when I got it.”

This year Denison’s roster does not contain a senior and seven of the top 16 players and 12 of the 21 overall are freshmen.

Durham has overseen the Denison swim program since 2008 and succeeded the only other coach in school history, Audra Farrington, since the school started competing in 2000.

“I loved working for Denison,” Durham said. “They switched me to a different elementary school. That helped make my decision. It was too big of a change.”

She was in charge during the career of the most decorated swimmer in school history, which concluded this past spring when senior Tori Fryar competed in the state meet for the third time. Fryar holds seven of the eight Denison individual records.

In addition to Fryar, four other Jackets — Davis Looney, Martha Hayes, Rayni Norris and Kanissorn Nimcharoenwan — as well as the medley relay team of Ariel Haskett, Haeleigh Morgan, Fryar and Hayes and the 200 free relay of Haskett, Norris, Fryar and Hayes also qualified for the regional meet this past season.

In 2013 the Lady Jackets had six entries at the regional meet while Denison sent nine entries to regionals in 2012.

“I wish nothing but the best for the program,” Durham said. “I’ll always have a connection to it.”

 

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