The Tennis program at Episcopal includes multiple teams: a co-ed Middle School team, Girls Junior Varsity, Boys Junior Varsity, Girls Varsity, and Boys Varsity. The girls’ tennis team has won nine straight district championships while the boys have won four of the last five championships. The teams practice at the USTA courts at the Clements Tennis Center on the Knight Campus. The Tennis program is led by Program Director Dede Allen, who is also the Girls Head Coach. The Boys Varsity team is coached by Bill Gist.
About the Coaches
Dede Allen has been coaching for more years than, as she says “I care to remember.” This year, 2021 will be her 12th year at Episcopal. In her time at ESJ, the team has won ten district championships in a row, five regional semi-finals, four regional championships, and made it to states as a team, four times (along with three years of individuals going to states). She is a recipient of the John Ryan Award for Excellence in Coaching and was named the USPTA/FL Coach of the Year. Before joining the Eagles, Coach Allen served as the coach of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While there, she finished second in the ACC and received the ACC Coach of the Year award. Coach Allen attended the University of Missouri where she played in the “one” spot in singles and doubles. She is the author of several USTA Sectional and National articles regarding college tennis recruiting and the author of the original USTA Tennis Guide for Prospective College Players. Coach Allen also spends time as a training coach for the USTA U10 Tennis program.
Bill Gist served as the Director of Tennis at Jacksonville Golf and Country Club from 1990-2017, where he was recognized as both the Northeast Florida Pro of the Year and the USPTA Region 3 Pro of the Year. As a player, Bill played collegiate tennis at Delta State University before graduating from Mississippi State University. He is married to his wife, Kara of 28 years, and they are proud parents to two Episcopal alumnae, Abby ’13 and Anna ’16.