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Madison native and 1970 graduate of Madison County High School, Bill Cherry, has been teaching at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fl. for 10 years and coaching the Varsity boys’ tennis team for seven. This April, the Vanguard Knights won the district and regional championships, progressing to state for the first time in 13 years. “The team simply had a desire to get there,” said Cherry. “We have been watching other teams, working hard and improving every year. The team became unstoppable.” Not only is Cherry’s group of athletes driven in sports, but they have also maintained 5.0 GPAs in their advanced classes, placing academics above everything else. “They do homework on the bench during games,” said Cherry. “Their school work comes first.” Cherry became the head tennis coach seven years ago when Vanguard’s athletic director informed him that, without a coach, the tennis team would be disbanded. Cherry stepped in and has worked hard with the tennis team ever since. This season, his hard work paid off in big ways. Perhaps this writer is biased, but it seems as though Madison County produces some fine individuals– from athletes and coaches, to teachers and entrepreneurs. There’s something about our quaint little county, where important values, skills, friendships and camaraderie abide. People may leave, but they tend to carry the Madison state of mind wherever they go; Mr. Cherry is proof. Bill Cherry lives in Ocala with his wife, Becky, who is also from Madison. They have two sons, Brice and Blake.