Men’s Soccer has one, Men’s Basketball has one and so does the football team, and now Tyler Junior College has a redshirt tennis program.

TJC’s most successful sports program has instituted a redshirt program at the beginning of the 2009 fall semester, giving players the opportunity to be a part of the Apache tradition.

A redshirt athlete has the ability to gain an extra year of practice with the team but not play in competitions and not waste a year of eligibility.

“We are giving players the ability to improve and hone their skills, so that they can help us or another school down the line,” said head varsity coach John Peterson.

The redshirt program is not the only new thing on the TJC campus. The latest edition to the TJC tennis coaching staff, and coach of the redshirts, is former Apache All-American Dash Connell. Participating in tennis for a majority of his life, Coach Connell hopes to bring his expertise and experience not only to the redshirt team, but the varsity team as well.

“I was working on the staff at a country club in Katy and I really wanted to get into college coaching. I heard about a coaching position here, I applied for it, and I got the job,” said Coach Connell.

The other redshirt programs on campus have been around for a while, but now tennis has the opportunity thanks to the help of the newly remodeled Louise Brookshire courts, where the team practices.

The varsity tennis team has been able to attract some of the best talent across the world, and redshirt players would be playing against tough competition to make the varsity squad.

“I think that some of our top players will be able to compete with some of the lower players on the varsity team and give them a little pressure,” said Coach Connell.

The program is open to all ages and grade classifications.

“I am really excited to have the opportunity to play for Dash and TJC. I believe this will greatly improve my game not only physically but also emotionally and mentally,” said sophomore redshirt tennis player Brent Krivokapich.

The redshirt program is not only open to men but to the women of TJC as well.

“We allow girls to sign up for the program, but this year we only had a few interested girls and they chose not to follow through with it,” Connell said.

The addition, the redshirt program gives players the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge that will help them, and possibly even help the Varsity Tennis Team, who plans to continue a successful Apache tradition.

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