In 1993, Northeast Ohio Tennis Association President
Bob Malaga approached a reporter at the Plain Dealer Junior Tennis
Tournament and said “Watch this 10 year old kid from Valley View.
His name is DJ Spice and I’m telling you this little guy has the
makings of a great tennis player”. A prophetic statement to say the
DJ was a student in the North Olmsted school system
until the end of his sophomore year when he transferred to Midview,
much to the delight of Midview tennis coach Nevin Razor.
Suffering his first loss in two years, DJ was still
headed for the state tournament his junior year. Buzzing through his
first two rounds he drew Canton McKenley’s Ben Kirksey in the
semifinal and defeated him 6-1, 6-2 and went on to defeat Geneva
junior Jeff Koder 6-2, 2-6 and 6-4 to claim the first ever Midview
State Tennis Championship. He grew to 6’4” his senior year and
became the Division I State Champion for the second straight year.
In the Semi-finals he struggled past Chardon Junior Stephens Rozek
6-4, 7-6 and 7-5 and then methodically beat North Canton Hoover
junior Scott Green in the finals 6-2, 6-3.
Derrick won a full athletic scholarship to Wake Forest
University. After passing up offers from Ohio State, Michigan
Clemons and Kentucky, he left Midview ranked as the 31st player in
the nation for boys 18 and under.
He led the Demon Deacons in singles wins with a
sparkling 36-12 record his freshman year breaking the previous
school record of 30. He accumulated a 7-1 record against conference
foes. He was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference Tennis Team
three times in both singles and doubles competition in his career at
Derrick Spice is now an instructor at the Smith-Stearns
Tennis Academy in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
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