Former Fruita hoops player Dreher trying out tennis
Billy Dreher has played basketball all over the world, but his roots are in Grand Junction.
The former Fruita Monument High School standout basketball player is back in town this weekend playing tennis in the Taco Bell Western Slope Open.
“I was here (on the Western Slope) last summer, but we weren’t quite ready (to play in a tournament),” Dreher said. “I don’t play enough. This year, we decided to come back and play in the mixed doubles.”
Dreher, 41, and his wife, Kevinnie, married earlier this summer and are on an extended honeymoon. They met at a basketball camp and live in St. Charles, La.
They are playing in the mixed 7.5 combined doubles division.
Although they lost 6-2, 6-2 to Brian Ballard and Tracy Davis of Moab, they are having fun.
“This is my first individual sport,” Kevinnie said. “It gets frustrating, but it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I played better than I thought.”
The Drehers have played doubles once together in a non-tournament setting.
“You can only expect to do so good,” Billy said. “You’ve just got to have fun.”
Billy is playing in the men’s 4.0 singles draw and played current Fruita Monument tennis coach Clint Davis in the first round. Davis defeated Dreher 6-1, 6-2.
It’s the first time Dreher is playing in the Western Slope Open since shortly after he graduated from high school in 1988, he said.
Back then, he was playing tennis for something else to do besides basketball.
Dreher played basketball for current Fruita Monument Athletic Director Denny Squibb. The two had some disagreements, but have since patched things up.
“We have gotten real close over the last few years,” Dreher said. “Everybody changes and grows up more. I’ll call him for advice. He’s got a lot of years of wisdom and knowledge. It’s been fun to rekindle that relationship.”
Dreher played overseas for several years in Panama, Taiwan, Singapore and Iceland before turning toward coaching.
“I loved traveling and seeing the world,” Dreher said.
Since his playing career ended 10 years ago, he has coached in Florida, Illinois and now Louisiana, but said he hopes to return to Colorado.
“It’s always great to come back,” Dreher said. “There are so many wonderful people that have been great to me and supported me. That’s why it would be great to come back and be a head coach here.”