Saint Xavier High School Tennis Team
Head Coach- Gil Downs '70
Gil Downs, a 1970 graduate of St. X, is entering his third year as the Head Tennis Coach of the Tigers. Coach Downs earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Kentucky and his master’s degree from the University of Louisville. Over the years, Gil has established himself as an excellent teacher in the areas of science and mathematics. He has a long list of teaching accomplishments: Louisville Foundation Teacher Award, Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, Rohm and Haas Chemistry Teacher Award, and past Chairman of the Louisville Section of the American Chemical Society, to name a few.
Gil brings a wealth of coaching experience to the program. Before joining St. X, Gil coached for many years in Jefferson County. He was an assistant basketball coach at Male and Eastern high schools and, from 1983 – 1991, he was the Head Girls Softball Coach at Eastern. After retiring from Jefferson County, Gil resumed his teaching career at St. X in 2007 and began coaching tennis in 2010. After seven years as an assistant tennis coach, Gil was selected to guide the program as the head tennis coach in 2017. Gil has continued the tradition of excellence established by so many over the years.
In addition to teaching and coaching, Gil has been active in high school officiating. In 2015 he was inducted into the Kentuckiana Football Officials Association Hall of Fame for his work from 1973 – 2012.
Gil and his wife, Bonni, have two children, Philip and Tamara, and three grandchildren, Riley, Jenson, and Catalina.
Assistant Coaches: Tyler Spears, Dan Martin, Don Isaacs, Daniel Miller
Coaches (L-R): Tyler Spears, Head Coach Gil Downs, Dan Martin
Tennis Through the Years
- In 1932, one year after the KHSAA included tennis as a recognized sport, George Trakas and Warfield Donohue won the first of St. X's 30 KHSAA doubles titles.
- Lee Huber won back-to-back KHSAA state singles titles in 1936 and 1937, becoming the first of St. X's 23 high school singles champions.
- Future U.S. Congressman Ron Mazzoli teamed with partner George Koper to win the state doubles championship in 1950, starting two decades of dominance by St. X.
- Max Brown, Jr. won consecutive state singles titles in 1953 and 1954.
- St. X won eight straight singles championships and eight straight double titles from 1957 to 1964. Billy Cooper, John Evans, Bobby Cooper, Jackie Cooper, Mickey Schad, Billy Spencer, Joe Imorde, Gil Thompson and Tom Cooper made the record-setting run. They were coached by St. X Hall of Fame members Brother Valens, CFX and Max Brown
- Jackie Cooper and Michael Schad were named to the U.S. Junior Davis Cup team in 1961, joining such future professional tennis champions as Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith.
- From 1967 to 1970, Tim Cooper, the last of the Cooper brothers, never lost a match as a Tiger over four straight years and won four straight KHSAA single crowns, a record unmatched in St. X Tennis.
- Mark Buechler won back-to-back singles titles in 1975 and 1976. One title was over future world top-10 player Mel Purcell of Murray.
- In 1978 Joe Kroh took over as head coach, replacing Brother Leroy, CFX, and helped form a committee to plan a Kentucky high school team title.
- In 1982 the KHSAA inaugurated a true team state championship format, based on points won in singles and doubles. Andrew Varga and Tim Gornet led the Tigers to the first title. In this format, St. X won 16 more state titles and captured 25 consecutive regional championships.
- Beginning in 1986 St. X established itself as one of the dominate programs in the country, playing in regional and national championships and consistently ranking among the top 20 teams in America over the next three decades - and competing against teams from nearly half the United States.
- The Tigers won four state team titles in a row from 1987 to 1990, getting key wins from Chris Bohnert, Clinton Glasscock, Bryan Minton, Scott Treibly and Brice Brown. Along the way, Bohnert and Glasscock won back-to-back doubles championships.
- Brice Brown earned a crucial singles win over his Trinity opponent as St. X upset the heavily favored Shamrocks to keep the streak alive. Brown teamed with Scott Treibly to take the doubles title in 1990 as the Tigers earned a fourth-straight team victory.
- Scott Treibly defeated Trinity's Michael Mather in 1992 to win St. X's first singles championship in 12 years.
- The Tigers won consecutive "Triple Crowns," capturing singles, doubles and team championships from 1996 to 1997. Brad Hambrick won back-to-back state singles titles. Brad Bush teamed with Kyle Bates to win two straight doubles titles.
- David Trier and Travis Triplett grabbed a doubles title over teammates Sam Duvall and Chase Armstrong in 2001. The team won its 13th team championship, the second title in a five-year run of team crowns.
- The Tigers set a team-scoring record in the 2004 championships, as Ben Close made the singles finals and Shane Collins made it to the semis, while Carlo Coronel and Nathan Ashley won the doubles title over teammates Brad Robey and Price Matthews.
- In 2008 Kerry Lancaster took over as head coach in a new era of St. X Tennis, as the KHSAA initiated fundamental changes in tennis competition. He expanded the chances for the Tigers to play top teams around the country.
- As an unseeded player in 2009, Dalton Thieneman upset a series of seeds and Kyle Coronel teamed with Alex Gornet to win the doubles title. St. X captured its 19th state title over consensus favorite KCD - the first of another five-year run of team crowns.
- While keeping individual titles, the KHSAA created a new format for state team titles in 2010, pitting qualifying teams directly against each other for the championship. Under the format, St. X proceeded to win four more titles without dropping a set in championship play and defeated Russell for the first crown.
- In 2012 Sean Donohue won St. X's 23rd state singles crown, defeating teammate Alex Gornet. The Tigers beat Lone Oak to win the team title.
- For the 12th time in state tourney history, St. X put both its doubles teams into the finals in 2013, where Zach Kuo and Parker Thieneman defeated Coleman Cox and Nick Waldeck. St. X won its 22nd team title and fifth in a row, shutting out Lone Oak in the championship team match.
- In 2014, the Tigers posted an impressive 25-4 record, won the Kentucky Duals, and won the Rotary Tourney in Chattanooga before winning their 23rd state tennis championship and sixth in a row. In the state tournament the Tigers posted one of the most dominant team performances in history by winning the singles, doubles and overall team state championship. Brandon Lancaster was the singles winner with Nick Waldeck and Matt Graft taking home the doubles title by defeating teammates Coleman Cox and Nick Quinones.
- The 2015 Tiger Tennis team posted the seventh consecutive KHSAA state championship and the 24th overall. Brandon Lancaster repeated as singles champion, and the team posted an impressive 21-4 record while going undefeated in the state of Kentucky.
- The 2016 Tiger Tennis team had a spectacular season. They posted a 20-2 record while capturing the state team title, as well as the singles and doubles titles. It was the team's eighth title in a row and 25th overall. Drew Singerman took first in the singles competition by defeating teammate Alex Wesbrooks in the all St. X final. The Tiger duo of Preston Cameron and Matt Graft won the doubles competition, making it the third consecutive year that Matt Graft participated in the doubles final.
- In 2017, the Tennis program recorded a 19-2 record in dual matches and went undefeated in the state of Kentucky where it won the state team championship for the ninth year in a row. Senior Spencer Blandford and junior Preston Cameron won the state doubles championship while senior Drew Singerman was the runner-up in the state singles championship.