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Photo by Theo Tate
Alton sophomore Hannah Macias makes a return in her No. 2 singles match with Granite City’s Ashley Peck on Sept. 29.
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Photo by Theo Tate
Lexi Mayfield puts on a ribbon before the Alton and Granite City girls’ tennis match Sept. 29. The Granite City tennis team gave out ribbons to all of the players in honor of Alton coach Robert Logan, who died Sept. 18.
Lucy Phillips was thrilled to play for coach Robert Logan when she joined the Alton girls’ tennis team a year ago.
“I always remembered him being in a good mood,” Phillips said. “He was so energetic and fun. He looked at life with a bright smile. He was very sarcastic with us. He would joke around with us and he had nicknames for everyone, which made everyone feel included and be a part of the team. He would always take the time out of his day to talk to us and see how we’re doing and he’s always very supportive with everything he wanted to do and he’s always really helpful in the game.”
Now, Phillips and the rest of the Alton squad are mourning the loss of Logan, who died Sept. 18 of liver cancer. Logan became the Redbirds’ girls’ tennis coach in 2010 and was hired as the school’s head boys’ tennis coach last spring.
“It’s been a little crazy with a lot of emotions going on,” said Phillips, one of two seniors on the Alton team. “It really enforces the idea that we’re not just playing for ourselves, but we’re playing for him and we’re playing for our fans because we enjoy it. He was kind of known for that. He loved the sport so much, so having us come out here and dedicating it to him kind of reiterates that and it makes us love the sport even more knowing we’re doing it for such a great person.”
The Redbirds have dedicated their season to Logan. The players are wearing long sleeved T-shirts that have “RLOG” on one of the sleeves.
“Our girls think it’s cool, and I think it’s cool that we can wear it out there on the court,” Alton interim coach Jesse Macias said. “It’s something to remember him by every day.”
In the Redbirds’ match with the Granite City Warriors on Sept. 29 at Granite City, all of the players wore red and black ribbons in honor of Logan. Granite City coach Linda Ames also gave out a check to Logan’s family.
“It was really nice for Linda and the players and Granite City to show respect for Rob and show some love for Rob,” Macias said. “We had some really nice thoughts and actions from a lot of the teams that we played. A lot of people are thinking about him. It was really emotional for our girls.”
Phillips added, “That was really awesome of them. It shows how many lives Rob touched. For them to support us this time, it shows that although we’re opponents, we all are like one family together. It was really nice of them to do that.”
Ames said Logan will definitely be missed in the Alton tennis community and the rest of the Metro East.
“He was a great friend of mine,” the Granite City coach said. “It was really hard and it’s still really hard because you question a lot of things like, ‘Why he has to be taken away so early?’ He had a special place in our hearts and that’s what will keep it going and our memories of him are unbelievable.”
The Redbirds took a 7-7 dual-match record into this week’s matches with Belleville West and Civic Memorial.
Alton will be playing in the Southwestern Conference Tournament on Friday and Saturday at Belleville West. A year ago, the Redbirds placed fifth in the SWC tournament at Edwardsville after finishing fifth in all of their singles and doubles flights.
Alton will be competing in the Class AA Belleville East Sectional on Oct. 7-8.
Macias said he’s pleased with the way his team has been playing after the passing of Logan. In a span of a week, the Redbirds picked up wins over Duchesne, Collinsville and Granite City.
“They’re just tough,” Macias said. “It gets a little bit easier, but with things like this, you want to take the time to remember him. You want to take the time to think about how much he meant to us and our program. He did a great job of doing the best he could in preparing for matches and going out to play. It’s great for them to take the time to remember the coach that we all really liked.”