BEMIDJI -- Coaching Bemidji tennis runs in the family for Kyle Fodness.
The 2012 Bemidji High School graduate is taking over head coaching duties at his old stomping grounds, as BHS announced him as his father’s replacement for the girls tennis program on Wednesday.
“My dad has done such a phenomenally good job,” Fodness said. “I think we have a lot of similar coaching philosophies and teaching philosophies. If I just try to do the best job I can do, I’m going to end up doing a lot of things that will probably be very similar to what he did.”
Fodness will replace his father, Mark, who resigned as head coach last week. Kyle will step up from the Bemidji Middle School tennis programs, which he has coached as recently as last school year.
“Our tennis program, talk about a great program to step into with the positive culture, stability and good tradition they’ve had,” he said. “… It makes it really easy when you have the athletics program we do at Bemidji, and the great people involved that we do.
“I’m stepping into a great tennis program, but also just a great athletics program. I’ve always thought we’re pretty fortunate to have the great athletics community that we do. I’m pretty fortunate to be a part of that as a player and as a head coach now.”
A four-sport athlete at BHS, Fodness captained the boys tennis program before joining the University of Minnesota football program as a punter in 2012 and 2013. Since returning to Bemidji, he’s had coaching stints for the summer tennis program, women’s tennis at Bemidji State and boys basketball at the high school and middle school levels.
“After being able to play in Bemidji, I knew that there would be a part of me that really wanted to coach in Bemidji,” he said. “(I have) been able to benefit from having so many good coaches over the years. … It’s almost like you have a responsibility to pay that back a little bit.”
Last season, the Lumberjack girls went 13-7 as a team and reached the Section 8AA semifinals in the team tournament. And with the new season starting Monday, Aug. 12, Fodness is ready to jump in.
“The most exciting thing is starting practice. I think every coach would say that,” he said. “There is a lot of organization. Some of that is fun, but the time that I’m going to be the happiest in the next few days is when we can get out on the courts. Then you’re with players, and that’s the most important thing. Monday morning, when we hit the courts and I can finally stop prepping and just start practicing, that’ll be really fun.”