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Craig Freels
The Centralia Sports Hall of Fame
2002 Individual Award Winner


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).

Freels 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. 

Freels 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.



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