Freels became the first
Centralia High School tennis player to
qualify for State Tournament singles play.
He played the #1 singles and doubles slots
his Sophomore through Senior years and won
Regional (now Sectional) Singles
Championships his Junior (1969) and Senior
(1970) years. Freels entered State play
undefeated each time.
After graduating from CHS, Freels went to
Kaskaskia College where he again finished an
undefeated season and teamed up with Ken
Abrams to win the Junior College State
Tournament in doubles to qualify for the
NJCAA national tournament in Ocala, FL.
The next three seasons, Freels spent at
Eastern Illinois University on a tennis
scholarship. During this time, the Panthers
qualified for the NAIA national tournament
(1972) and the NCAA national tournament
(1973 and 1974).
returned to CHS as boys’ tennis coach from
1979 through 2009. He had five teams capture
Sectional titles which qualified the entire
team for state play. In 31 seasons he
recorded over 275 dual meet wins.
His best season records
were in 2001
(13-2), 2002 (13-1) and 2007 (11-1). His teams captured South-Seven Conference
titles in 2001, 2007, and 2009. In 26 of his
31 years at Centralia High School
Freels had at least one player qualify
for state play.
also coached the CHS girls tennis team
from 1984 through 2006. He had girls qualify
for state play in ten different seasons.
In 2010 he was named tennis coach at
Kaskaskia College as they resumed the tennis
program from its hiatus in the early 1990's.
He served as coach through the 2012 season.
Freels was inducted into the KC Sports Hall of
Fame in 2008.