Good tennis coaches are hard to find.

“And when you do find one, you sign them up as quickly as you can,” Erie athletic director Richie Wildenhaus said.

Wildenhaus found his man in Paul Drake, who will finish up his duties in Chicago before joining the rest of his family in Colorado prior to the start of the season.

Drake accepted a job to teach physical education at Mead Middle School and saw the opening left by Beth Cerrone at Erie and jumped at the opportunity to continue his coaching career.

“I’m very excited. I’ve taught a lot of swimming and a lot of tennis both in the United States, in Australia and in England, so it has been a very adventurous 20 some-odd years,” said Drake, who hails from Pakenham, Victoria, Australia.

The draw to the Centennial State was simple for Drake, who had seen enough of Chicago’s brutal winters. And with everything that Colorado has to offer recreation-wise, it was an easy decision.

“It was too much to turn down,” he said. “I was sick of getting home and seeing my two little girls sitting on the couch playing with their bloody iPads.”

Drake, who grew up playing Australian Rules Football, is finishing his role as an aquatics director at a Chicago-area club and would like to also add the same kind of role at some point once he arrives in Colorado.

Wildenhaus essentially killed two birds with one stone and also will have Drake coach the girls program, too.

And Drake is ready for the challenge of turning what is a relatively new program at Erie into a winner, and that starts from Day One.

“First and foremost I want to win. It is just the way I was raised and I really hate losing,” Drake said. “Tennis is a fantastic game and if I can get these kids to play tennis and play it properly and enjoy it enough to play it their entire life, then it is objective reached. The sport has been very, very good to me.”

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