Prep tennis: Gendron has sustained Mustangs boys, girls programs

MARQUETTE – When Rod Gendron moved to Munising from Marquette a few years ago, he looked for an athletic activity to become involved with on a regular basis.

“I was a basketball player (when I was younger),” said the 48-year-old Munising High School boys and girls tennis coach. “I just naturally flowed into tennis and started playing (when I came to Munising).

“I just liked the sport in general. It took athletic ability and mental toughness.

“I thought it would be a neat sport for my own kids and others in town,” he added.

Gendron organized a summer youth tennis camp several years ago in Munising that was well-attended.

“Some of (the campers) asked me about having high school tennis,” he recalled. “We had five or six kids go to a Gladstone camp one summer.”

Gendron organized an MHS girls’ team in 2007.

“I had no idea how many girls would come out, but we had a full team,” the Munising Tennis Association president said.

With the help of Mustangs assistant coach Claudia VanLandschoot, Gendron has managed to field the self-funded boys and girls tennis teams for seven years.

In 2011, he was presented the Northern Michigan Tennis Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award through the United States Tennis Association. Gendron was nominated for his continued dedication to growing the sport of tennis.