Home Local News Upper Sandusky tennis players recall first season 50 years later

Upper Sandusky tennis players recall first season 50 years later

50 years later
Steve Seitz (left) and Dan Vogel stand in front of the Upper Sandusky tennis storage shed at the school’s tennis courts. They played on the school’s first tennis team 50 years ago, before the courts even existed.
Daily Chief-Union/Lonnie McMillan


Sports editor

Upper Sandusky just wrapped up another successful tennis season with a district qualifier for the third straight season, but that might not have been the case if the program had not gotten its start 50 years ago.

Tennis became a sport for the Rams in 1973, even though there were no courts at the school, and the only ones in the city were clay courts located at Harrison Smith Park. The Rams practiced there when they could and had to adjust to playing on a hard surface for their matches, all of which were away.

“We had clay courts, so if it rained or was wet, we drove to Bucyrus to practice,” said Steve Seitz, a senior on that first team. “It was kind of tough, because a lot of time we played on clay and then we had to switch over to asphalt, and it’s a little bit of a different surface. It’s a lot faster game on asphalt.”

Seitz and Dan Vogel, a junior at the time, had played some tennis together before the team started and asked the school to start playing tennis, which was becoming more popular as a school sport. There was enough interest to make it happen.

Larry Bondy, who now lives in the Toledo area, was hired as the school’s first tennis coach.

“Dan and I just kind of kept talking to them, pushing them a little bit, so they finally agreed to have a high school team,” Seitz said. “I don’t even know that Bondy played tennis that well, but he was the coach. We played ping pong a lot and talked to him about it then and got him to have it then.”

Vogel was the team’s first No. 1 singles player, with Seitz playing No. 2 singles. They also paired together as the top doubles team in a different format than is played today.

“Back then I played No. 1 singles, and sometimes I’d have six sets by the time I was done,” Vogel said. “I 

played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. My record wasn’t the greatest. I went up against a lot of stiff competition, and it was our first year. In doubles, though, we won about half our matches, pretty close to it.”

Though he did not win much in singles, Vogel said he does remember a particularly satisfying victory when he avenged a previous loss to a Galion player who also was the football team’s quarterback. Vogel also remembered a close rainy team victory against Plymouth, coached by Upper Sandusky native Tom Needs.

Vogel said junior Dave Borer played No. 3 singles, while Vogel’s cousin, junior Brian Logsdon, played No. 4 singles. Both of them now live out of state.

Seitz said it was a struggle the first season to get the fourth point needed out of seven possible to win as a team with a team of new players.

The Rams hit the road for every match that first season, with none closer than Bucyrus.

“For the first year, it wasn’t that bad, considering,” Vogel said. “I think we won seven matches maybe. Five to seven. I think we won half of them, which wasn’t bad for the first year. Then they came with courts the following year, and when I was a senior, we actually had courts.”

The new tennis courts were put in at their current location and have remained there ever since. Vogel was able to play on them for his senior season in 1974.

Vogel and Seitz played some tennis following graduation, but they became busy with other things and now their bodies do not allow for them to play a sport as physically demanding as tennis.

“Two knee replacements and a variety of other ailments, I don’t play,” Vogel said. “I could play pickleball. I play golf a little bit.” 

Both still cheer for the Rams in all sports, although things have changed a lot, especially in tennis.

“It’s a big difference in 50 years,” Seitz said. “Back then, it was pretty crude.”


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