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Father and son duo look to dominate the competition

Volunteer coach Gene Orlando reunites with his son Vince for his senior year.

MUNCIE, INDIANA.--- Located at the YMCA in Muncie, this facility is home to not only some championship history, but also some family history.

Ball State has a new bird looking to help the team soar to new heights. Gene Orlando is a first-year volunteer coach for the cardinals who found his way back home.

"I got my start here at ball state in the fall of 1983 and wasn't sure where my game was going to go,” Orlando said. “I was fortunate enough to play for Coach Richards who is a great developmental coach."

Orlando spent the last 31 years as the head coach of the Michigan State Spartans. He is the all-time winningest coach at East Lansing, totaling up 361 career victories. However, this former cardinal is flocking back to the nest spending this year with his senior son, Vince. 

"It's a level of comfort out there,” Orlando said. “I feel at home when he's on my court and feel very relaxed. But also no one knows my game better than my dad, we put countless hours into my tennis ability and just having him out there I feel like I have a little advantage against the other players."

Being reunited once again is something that both Gene and Vince can appreciate. Gene has only been able to see several of Vince’s matches in college during his time as head coach. 

“Not only do I get to be with my son and spend this time together and go through some battles together, the ups and the downs, it's great to share the experience,” Orlando said. “But really what's even more touching is to have the opportunity to work with my old coach. And to have that combo of your son, your former coach, and what he did for me and what he's done for my son, really is probably the most moving thing and makes this experience really special." 

With a busy upcoming schedule, Gene and the rest of the coaching staff look to prepare the team in the best way possible. 

“There's a lot that goes into being a head coach,” Orlando said. “I'm just here to help coach, take some things off his plate and how I can help his current players here and my current team and see what we can do."

Even though this is year one of the Orlando’s being together, Ball State moves forward with not just a team bond, but an unbreakable family bond.  

Contact Zach Greer with comments at zcgreer@bsu.edu