Icon steps down
Almont Coach Sousanis calls an end to his 37-year career
August 27, 2008ALMONT — When the 2008 boys' tennis season gets into full swing in the weeks ahead there will be someone different in charge of Almont's program.
That is because longtime Almont Coach Dean Sousanis has decided to step down from the position after a run of 37 years.
He will be replaced by Nathan Immekus, a 1999 graduate of Almont High School and a former player for Sousanis.
Sousanis still plans to stay on as a physics instructor at the school, a job he has held for 45 years.
His move away from the sport was something he had been considering for a few years.
"I have been looking for somebody to replace me," Sousanis commented. "When Nathan came along I knew I had found someone who could fill the position," he noted.
"It is time to do other things. This has been a very rewarding job for me."
And to think that Sousanis originally had no intention of becoming a tennis coach at all.
"When I first came to Almont I wanted to be a basketball or a baseball coach," Sousanis said. "Neither of those positions were available at the time but there was an opening for a tennis coach," he noted.
"I didn't know much about the sport but I thought I would give it a try. It wound up being a good decision after all."
And that is putting it mildly.
Since then Sousanis has directed Almont to 30 state finals appearances during his storied career, including the last 24 in a row.
Almont also has netted 27 league championships over that stretch and finished second the other years.
Sousanis estimates his career victory total at 580, a number that isn't likely to be approached any time soon. The Raiders last losing season was 33 years ago, that coming during the 1975 campaign.
His impressive list of accomplishments don't stop there either. He also started the girls' program back in 1977, stepping down from that post three years ago. Sousanis led them to 17 state finals appearances.
The ability to produce a quality team year in and year out is something that Sousanis is understandably proud of.
"There were some years we weren't suppose to make it to states or it looked as if things would be very close," Sousanis said. "Almost every time the players met or exceeded what was expected of them," he noted.
Sousanis said he did not stress winning to his players through the years. Still, the success followed anyway.
"I told them not to worry about winning or losing," Sousanis said. "All they need to concentrate on is doing as good as they can," he noted.
"Some had trouble accepting that message. Those that did, though, realized that goal."
And, judging by Almont's consistency through the years, it was a message that Sousanis' athletes took to heart.