Sports

Lindberg’s latest role: girls tennis coach

Bremerton boys basketball coach Casey Lindberg is coaching the BHS girls tennis team for the first time. He’s been on the job for less than 10 days. - Wesley Remmer/staff photo
Bremerton boys basketball coach Casey Lindberg is coaching the BHS girls tennis team for the first time. He’s been on the job for less than 10 days.
— image credit: Wesley Remmer/staff photo

Casey Lindberg has coached the Bremerton boys basketball team for the better part of a decade.

Lindberg recently led the Knights to their first district tournament appearance since 2004, the same year he coached now-NBA star Marvin Williams while Williams was being recruited by legendary coach Roy Williams to play ball for the University of North Carolina.

Five years later, hoops still in his heart, Lindberg is in unfamiliar territory, coaching unfamiliar faces in a sport he’s, well, relatively unfamiliar with: girls tennis.

The job opened after Jeremy Monroe, who previously coached both the BHS boys and girls tennis teams, stepped down last spring at the end of the girls season, leaving both teams without a coach. Athletic Director George Duarte coached the boys team the ensuing fall season, filling in while searching for his own replacement, before turning to Lindberg to handle the girls this spring.

“I’ve coached for almost 15 years and I’ve never coached girls,” said Lindberg before practice Tuesday, surveying a group he knows little about, but who he now calls his team. “It’ll be very challenging.”

The challenges are twofold; not only must Lindberg acclimate from the indoor hardwood to the outdoor hard court, but he also must learn the ins and outs of coaching girls rather than boys, a process he’s just beginning.

“There’s definitely a period of time when I’m trying to figure out exactly what I can say and what I can’t say, we’re still in that process,” Lindberg said. “I know that I need to be a little more sensitive with them, I do, there’s just certain things ... They are different than boys.”

But the hoops-coach-temporarily-turned-tennis-teacher said he is excited for the challenges ahead. In fact, those challenges — the allure of stepping into uncharted territory — compelled him, in part, to accept the job.

Which leaves Lindberg in a wait-and-see, learn-as-you-go situation.

“I’m enjoying it so far,” he said. “We’ll just have to see how it goes.”

Lindberg said he has yet to finalize the entire lineup — the first match is March 25 — but has penciled in his No. 1 and No. 2 singles players, as well as his No. 1 doubles team.

“I’m about halfway there,” he said. “We’re figuring it out.”

Breanna Casias is in the No. 1 singles slot, while Courtney Wasserburger, who saw significant varsity action last year, is at No. 2 singles. Megan Arriola, who at times played singles last year, and three-sport athlete Sarah Streutker are the No. 1 doubles tandem.

The remaining varsity slots appear to be up for grabs.

“That’s the tough part,” said Lindberg, explaining he must assess the talent and capabilities of an unknown team in a short period of time. “Right now, we have basically a week from (Wednesday) until our first match.”

However, Lindberg said he is certain he’ll mix and match, experiment and tinker his lineup to suit the opponent as well as his players’ abilities.

“There will be times when Breanna plays doubles, so when Breanna goes to play doubles, Courtney will be our No. 1 (singles),” he said. “That’s the one thing I’m learning about tennis — there’s a lot of shifting around of your players, you can do that.”

But even while Lindberg learns the game, his players and adjusts his coaching style to suit girls tennis rather than boys basketball, his expectations are rock solid.

“I expect that every time we go into a match, I would think we should be competitive,” he said.

The team’s first match is at Port Angeles. The home-opener is April 8 against North Kitsap.

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