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Dad-daughter coaching duo leading D-B tennis

Douglas Fritz • Updated Aug 16, 2019 at 6:29 PM

It wasn’t hard for Dobyns-Bennett to coax Reedy Toney back into the coaching business.

The Indians already had his daughter, Kaelin Toney, on board as an assistant coach in tennis.

“How many times do you have a chance to coach with your daughter?” said Toney. “She was an assistant the last two years, and she didn’t want the head coaching job. She asked me to do it. So I agreed to work with her a year or two, and maybe she will be ready to do it in the future.”

Kaelin said she is looking forward to the opportunity, and believes she will learn a lot from her dad.

“There’s no better person to learn from when it comes to anything related to tennis,” Kaelin said. “I think it’s going to be a special thing to coach with him. I’m really excited.”

Kaelin pointed out she has made the full coaching circle with her dad.

“I was coached by him in high school, I coached against him, and now I will be coaching with him,” she said. “Not many parents and their kids can say they’ve done this.”

Reedy — who is 67 years old and good buddies with former D-B football head coach Graham Clark — has a storied career as a high school head coach. He guided Tennessee High to four straight team state championships from 2014-17. The Vikings also had two singles finalists and three doubles championships in that stretch.

Toney was born in Erwin and started his tennis teaching career at Buffalo Valley in Unicoi. He moved on to Lake Lure Resort near Asheville, North Carolina, where he met a lot of Tennessee Eastman people. And in 1975, they convinced him to take over as head pro at Ridgefields Country Club. That job stuck for over 20 years.

He retired, but got back in as the tennis pro at Cattails at MeadowView.

“I’m like Brett Favre, I can’t decide how many times I want to retire,” he said.

In 2010, he got into high school coaching as an assistant at Dobyns-Bennett. And in 2013, he took over the Tennessee High program.

Toney said things are being put in place to help Dobyns-Bennett’s program rise.

“We’re getting the pipeline going again at Ridgefields,” said Toney, who has undergone many surgeries in his life, including a recent battle with cancer. “I may coach one year or 10 years, but I can’t be out there 10 hours a day. I’m tickled with my assistants, including Tom Parnell and Dale Berry. We have a good staff put together.”

The girls team for this coming season could be quite strong.

“They are four or five deep,” said Toney.

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