NOVI, Mich., April 19, 2017 – Novi High School didn’t have to look far to find its next head boys’ tennis coach.
Dan Lowes, an assistant with the Wildcats since 2005 and a science teacher in the building, has been elevated to head coach, replacing legendary coach Jim Hanson, who is retiring in June.
“I really do believe that Dan is going to be able to carry the torch and make it a little bit brighter,” Novi athletic director Brian Gordon said. “He could not have been partnered with a better mentor to show him the way, and I’m sure the lessons he has learned from Coach Hanson will help him moving forward.”
Lowes was part of Hanson’s coaching staff during a highly successful era in Novi tennis history. The Wildcats are among two programs – Ann Arbor Huron is the other – to finish in the top five of the Division 1 state finals in each of the last nine seasons.
The Wildcats reached the state finals in back-to-back years, in 2013, and again in 2014, when they defeated Birmingham Brother Rice to capture the school’s lone tennis championship.
Last fall, the Wildcats finished fourth in the state.
Lowes inherits a team with plenty of talent to get back to the finals, but the 43-year-old Novi High alumnus isn’t taking a return for granted.
“We have been blessed with some talent but you still have to work with the kids and our goal is to watch them improve every year,” Lowes said. “No matter how talented they are you still want to see them improve.”
Lowes graduated in 1992, the year before Hanson arrived at Novi High. He said he’s thankful for everything he has learned from the experience of working with a legendary coach.
“I want to simulate and do a lot of the things Jim did, keep the tradition going,” Lowes said. “Tweak things a little here and there, but we’ve got a good thing going, so you want to keep it going. And I think with little tweaks we can maintain it.”
Lowes, who studied biology and chemistry at Western Michigan University and earned a Master’s from Wayne State University, is in his 13th year as a high school chemistry teacher at Novi.
Becoming head coach at his alma mater is special.
“It’s kind of an honor,” said Lowes, who played varsity doubles for coach Jim Newbold, from 1990-92. “It’s refreshing in a way that we’ve kept it close to home. I was part of the first KVC championship that Novi tennis ever got in ’91 and ’92, so to see it materialize into what it has become today and be a part of that is kind of fun, kind of exciting.”
A longtime assistant with the girls’ team, Lowes, who also golfed and played basketball as a prep athlete, would also like to succeed Hanson as head coach following the current spring season.
Gordon said he expects Lowes to be a candidate for the girls’ job.
“I love whenever we have the chance to hire somebody who is in our building,” Gordon said. “With Dan’s extensive tennis background and being a part of the program for 14 years we will just follow our process as we always do, but we will see when that time comes and we’ll make that decision come this fall.”
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