MHSTeCA COACH OF THE YEAR - 2009
(click on coach's name to read more about them)
DIVISION - COACH
DIVISION - COACH
|1 - Garrett Turner, Midland Dow||1 - Bill Baum, Midland|
|2 - Karie DeBerry, Sterling Heights||2 - Patrick Haley, Wyandotte Roosevelt|
|3 - Charlie bassett, Spring Lake|
|4 - Mark Randolph, Ann Arbor Greenhills||3 - Pat Hoffmann, St. Joseph|
|4 -Denny Green, Harbor Springs|
Garrett Turner, Midland Dow - Division 1
It would be a gross understatement to say that Garrett Turner has enjoyed considerable success as coach of the Midland Dow girls. In his four years there, he has never lost a dual meet (32-0-2). His Chargers have won the conference title every year, qualified for state competition every year, and captured the regional title twice. In 2005, his squad finished 12th in the state; 2006, 14th, and 2008, 10th (You will recall that there was no girls season in 2007).
Garrett’s kids more than added to these already impressive statistics this past spring in what might be – at least statistically -- categorized as a perfect season. In spring 2009, Dow was undefeated in dual meet play (7-0), won six tournaments, and captured the regional title. Seven of the eight flights were undefeated going into the state tournament and the other one had only one loss. At the final tournament, every flight made it to Saturday, four flights reached the finals, and two won state championships. So did the team.
But it was very, very close, coming down to the final match of the day at 4 singles. Dow played the Ann Arbor Pioneer girl who had won the tournament the previous year at the same position and was undefeated in her high school career. Indeed, the No. 1 seed was playing the No. 2 seed. Garrett’s girl came from behind in the third set to force a tie break that had to be played indoors because of weather. Dow won the tie break 8-6, thus winning the team championship by one point, arguably the closest margin in history.
Garrett stops short of calling it a perfect season, however. “There were things we had to work through, and every day was not a cake walk,” he says. “The biggest thing that helped the team was getting every girl to play in the position that they were needed to play. Two seniors were three-year singles players that moved to 1 and 2 doubles to strengthen our doubles positions. Our 1 singles of the past two years got beat out of her spot this year and took the 2 singles spot, and won the tournament. Everyone worked together well and throughout the season became a team rather than a group of individuals.”
A math teacher at Dow, Garrett played 1 and 2 doubles for crosstown rival Midland High as a youngster. “I liked the sport but was never serious,” he says. “I think I played once in college for fun. But once I got to Dow in the fall of 2004, I had two seniors find out that I played in high school and they asked if I could help with the team.Garrett volunteered that season and found that he really enjoyed the sport. “Unfortunately I wasn’t very good,” he says, “and every girl could beat me.” But after the season, he went to the Midland Community Tennis Center, got a rating, joined a class, and started playing in leagues. “Tennis has really become a sport that I love to play which only helps when I show up to practice with the girls.
Karie DeBerry, Sterling Heights - Division 2
One result of the Gender Equity Lawsuit was a scenario which has undoubtedly been repeated throughout the state: Karie DeBerry lost her best singles player to soccer this past spring. This meant that Monika Garstka, a 1D player the previous year, had to step into the hot spot, not a very enviable situation. But Monika won her first match of the season at the right time, the regional where she defeated her opponent from Warren Woods Tower (three sets and two tie-breaks) to earn a surprise point for her team. Another upset in doubles gave the Stallions their first trip in school history to the state finals.
“Our girls do not have the resources to play year round in a club,” says Karie. “Therefore, their performance on the court is a result of practice in the summer and during the season. They were ecstatic when they found out they were going to states.”
This had to be particularly satisfying for Karie in that most of her success at Sterling Heights had previously been enjoyed as the boys varsity coach. Her guys have captured four conference championships in various divisions of the Macomb Conference. The competition can be stiff: the Stallions regularly compete against Warren Mott, Mt. Clemens, Port Huron, and Romeo, all coached by MHSTeCA board members and/or former MHSTeCA coaches of the year. “The boys’ level of competition is entirely different in comparison to the girls, especially because of their more competitive nature,” she says. For her efforts, she was elected County Coach of the Year in 2004.
Two decades before that, 13-year-old Karie picked up an inexpensive racket and used it to hit balls against her grandparents’ garage door. She played high school tennis for Carol Gray at East Detroit and enjoyed the game and the team. “We always had a good time, win or lose,” she says.
In 1999, she started work as a counseling clerk at Sterling Heights High School. When she was asked to help with the dance team, she not only applied but also told the athletic director that she would love to assist the tennis coach. As it turns out, the school needed a varsity coach. Her ensuing efforts have earned her the appreciation of her peers in the Macomb Area Tennis Conference.
For instance, for the past four years, Karie has served as the secretary which involves attending four meetings a year, composing the program for the yearly banquet, distributing memos, and organizing minutes for the other coaches. Given that there are five divisions of six schools each in the conference, this means keeping contact with 30 schools. She also assists new coaches with information that will help them with their initial season. “She is the backbone for all communications and events,” says Chris Layson of Utica Eisenhower.
“She has revitalized the state of Sterling Heights tennis,” adds Chris. “She has raised not only the number of participants in her program but has elevated the standards of academics and sportsmanship amongst the players in her program. She constantly attempts to immerse her kids in the culture of tennis, whether it is pushing players into various avenues of offseason training like USTA leagues and tournaments, or taking her players on practice days to see other schools play. She works to expose her players to new tennis experiences.”
“She has had good and bad teams, but always rebuilds and comes back better than ever,” says Marc Bates of L’Anse Creuse High School. “She is always fair and not afraid to enforce the rules. I have seen many of her former players come back to see her, and work with her to help with activities such as tournaments.”
Indeed, Karie is popular among fellow coaches who characterize her as a pleasure to compete against. “She is always a gracious host and a true friend,” say Bates. “Her teams are great sports, and have class and integrity on and off the court. This is a direct reflection of her coaching and leadership style.”
“She has won several of these awards on the county and regional levels, largely due to the fact that those who know her as a coach personally recognize that she is among the best in our profession,” says Chris. “It is wonderful and well-deserved that she is now being recognized for her service and dedication at the state level.”
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Charlie Bassett, Spring Lake - Division 3
When the folks at Spring Lake were searching for an “old” tennis player to address Charlie Bassett’s kids at the end-of-season banquet last spring, they recruited Suzi Velarde (nee Suzi Olds) who played for Charlie thirty years ago (1976-1979). “Even though it has been 30 years since he was my coach,” she told the youngsters, “the lessons he taught me are with me always. And girls, I can assure you that your time with Charlie will always be with you, too.”
Suzi went on to describe her days as a tennis player at Spring Lake. “Back then we were a rag-tag team with wooden racquets, Farrah Faucet hair and cheesy polyester warm-ups,” she said. “We were a scrappy little group from a scrappy little town, but we won. We won a lot.”
That was then, but things haven’t changed much over three and a half decades. In 35 years, Charlie’s girls have won 18 conference championships, brought home seven regional trophies, and qualified for state competition 25+ times (too many for him to count). This past season, his kids were a third-place qualifier out of their regional who finished 13th in the state.
Charlie’s best state finish was fourth. His last MHSTeCA girls coach of the year recognition was in 1980. In 2006, he was named state coach of the year for boys. He was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1992.
“I’ve often thought about why we were so successful,” said Suzi, “and I don’t think it was because he was some great technician who picked apart our strokes. Heck, back then his knees were so bad he could barely hit a ball! No, I don’t think with Charlie it’s about strokes. I think it’s about chemistry. And when it comes to creating great chemistry, Charlie is the master.”
“He has a special ability to make kids relax, and he’s always positive,” former Spring Lake coach and athletic director Tom Hickman concurs. “Even when his team suffered a devastating loss, he always found something positive to say.”
“Teenagers need adults other than their parents to help them believe they’re good, that they’re talented, and valuable, and that they can do great things” said Suzi to this year’s squad. “Charlie was one of the adults who told me that. Not with words, but with his encouragement, his sense of humor, and his enormous love for kids that I felt -- and I know all of you have felt whenever you’ve been with him.”
Over the years, Charlie has expanded his influence to include adults. He was MHSTeCA president from 1985 to 1987. He still serves on the board of directors where he has recently helped recruit young blood in the form of Charles Phelps of Grand Rapids Christian and Jeff Bush of Muskegon Mona Shores. As a former president, he has a permanent seat on the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He has hosted more regionals than he can count, again 25+. He served on the state seed committee for three years.
And Charlie continues to make a difference locally. In 2007, his players – both boys and girls – created the Charlie Bassett Legacy Fund at the Grand Haven Community Foundation and raised $5,200 in two weeks. They gave him a check at that year’s banquet. “We set it up so I give a scholarship to tennis players, one boy and one girl, at the awards banquet at the end of the school year,” he says. “[It goes to] players that demonstrate positive attitude¸ outstanding sportsmanship, hard work, and leadership.”
“I also believe that the greatest compliment you can ever receive is to be told that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life, concluded Suzi. “Well, Charlie, I speak not only for myself, but for hundreds of young women (and now even middle-aged women) when I say my life is different because you were my coach, my mentor, and my friend.”
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Mark Randolph, Ann Arbor Greenhills - Division 4
Mark Randolph is an idealist. “While competitions regularly yield winners,” he says, “it is infrequent that sport gives us true champions. Our goal [at Ann Arbor Greenhills] is to be champions, players who bring integrity to the sport, celebrating the game, our opponents, and our own best effort.”
But to be sure, the “best effort” is not too shabby. Greenhills girls finished second in the state in both 2005 and 2006 (you will recall that there was no girls season in 2007). In 2008, they failed to qualify by one point, but this past spring, they reached the top.
“It was very close,” says Mark. “We were in 2nd place going into the second day – down by one point – with five quality teams in the hunt. We were tied for first with one remaining match on the court, the 1 singles final. When Kasey Gardiner won the 1 singles match, she delivered the championship to her team in fine fashion.”
Of course, Mark credits other team members as well. “Although we were upset in a couple of matches, we rallied to deliver our own upsets and thus made up the difference,” he says
The state tournament culminated a dream season. Greenhills defeated always-tough University Liggett 7-1 and prevailed handily over Grosse Ile in a scrimmage. Always saddled with a tough regional that sometimes prevented them from advancing, this year’s strong squad -- together with a regional realignment --made qualifying easy for a change. During the season, the team won two Saturday tournaments and only lost to Detroit Country Day (3-5 having lost two three-set matches) and a very good Saline team in dual meet play.
The Saline connection is a fortuitous one. Mark took over the Saline program in 1994 and sought to get the Hornets into the state tournament from (again) a remarkably tough region that too often included Ann Arbor Pioneer, Ann Arbor Huron, Brighton, Novi, and Plymouth Salem “We always finished third or better in the Ann Arbor Region.” Says Mark. We finally got to hoist our regional championship trophy for two years when the state reorganized around equal divisions which put Saliine in D2.” His kids went on to finish 14th in the state in 1998, 9th in 1999, 7th in 2000, 14th in 2001, and and 17th in 2003. “I will admit it was tough for the kids and for me knowing that we often had a top ten team, or some flight that would be top 4 seeds, but we couldn’t qualify,” he says. “I am proud of the fact that I never asked the state to gerrymander Saline into a more favorable situation at the expense of some other team. I wanted to run with the big dogs, and at times we did.”
Indeed Greenhills is itself a big dog, both in the spring and in the fall. 2005 Boys Coach of the Year Eric Gajar won the state championship in 2003, 2004, and this past season. His counterpart in the spring is every bit as accomplished. A four-year letterman at Occidental College in Los Angeles (and a classmate of Barack Obama), he was an Academic All American in 1983 who went on to earn a Ph D. at Michigan. He has played on USTA teams, one of which advanced to the Westerns, and on 5.0 teams. In other words, his girls are coached by somebody who can play.
But playing well is simply a byproduct of a larger goal, according to Mark. “I would like to think that I teach my charges to compete hard and fairly,” he says, “but I have sought to promote the game and its valuable lessons first, over and above my own program winning.This coach of the year has done both admirably.
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Bill Baum, Midland - Division 1
This fall’s Midland High School boys team was Bill Baum’s 58th and final team –both boys and girls -- that he will lead. He coached 24 years at Midland Central Intermediate and then began at Midland High School as the JV boys and girls coach. The girls were an impressive 22-0-2 and the boys were 21-6-2.
This success provided plenty of preparation for taking over the girls varsity in 2000. That team finished 7-1-1 and qualified for state competition for the first time in several years. He directed the girls from 2000-2003 and again in 2008-2009 for a six-year record of 51-13-6. For his efforts, he was chosen Saginaw Valley Coach of the Year.
But this was by no means the first time Bill had achieved this honor. As boys coach, he received the award four times. He has coached the boys for the past 10 seasons to a record of 82-18-5. His boys qualified for the state tournament five times, finishing 8th in 2005. This year’s contingent, his last, sent their coach into retirement with an 8-2 dual meet record, brought home three tournament trophies, recorded a second place conference finish, captured third place in the regional, and ended up 10th at the state finals.
A football and baseball player in high school, Bill got into tennis when Escanaba High School discontinued their baseball program back in the mid-‘60s. He taught math in Midland from 1973 to 2004 and was also the athletic director for Central Intermediate for 15 years. During the 1996-97 school year, the 9th grade at the intermediate schools in Midland were transferred to the high schools, as was Bill because he was teaching 9th grade Algebra. With the increased enrollment, the administration decided to add JV tennis. Bill got both the boys and girls jobs and coached the JV teams until the spring of 1999 when he took over for Tom Marquis.
In the next decade, Bill’s kids won over 130 matches. His 2005 boys’ squad went undefeated, won the Saginaw Valley League title, captured the regional title, and finished 8th in the state.
“He is always writing down comments that he wants to say to his players during the changeover and after the match,” says Hall of Famer Bob Quinn of Saginaw Heritage. “He is a low-key coach who encourages his players with a quiet enthusiasm. His players are always ladies and gentlemen on and off the court, which is an indication of the type of things Bill requires of his players.”
Nancy Brissette of Essexville Garber summarizes Bill in one word: gentleman. “His rapport with his athletes, parents, and other coaches is something all coaches should strive for,” she says. “His sportsmanship is amazing. You can never tell whether Bill's team is winning or losing. He radiates positive energy. He will be missed!”For his good work, Bill Baum has been named MHSTeCA Regional Coach of the Year three times. Time for a state honor.
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Patrick Haley, Wyandotte Roosevelt - Division 2
“Our last season was excellent,” says Pat Haley, referring to the campaign of fall 2009. “I have a great group of kids who worked incredibly hard to improve throughout the year. We tied for the league title with Trenton with identical 7-0-1 records. We won our region with 24 points finishing ahead of Dexter and Allen Park who each had 20 points.”
Although Pat describes the team’s state tournament experience as “not as good as we hoped for,” he is understandably excited about the fact that he had nine juniors and a freshman in the starting 12. “Despite our youth, I had tremendous leadership on the team,” he adds.
Pat describes Wyandotte as “a working class city which has been hit hard by the recession.” His summer program is free, a volunteer drop-in program that was started 10 years ago as a place for tennis players to meet and play. Athletic Director Tom DeSana has helped out by supplying balls for the program and has purchased racquets for families that are struggling with the cost of the sport. And Pat hastens to add that he enjoys tremendous support from assistant coaches Megan Mendenhall, Ron Pascuzzi, and Pat Loftus. It was Pat who took over the team during the regional when Pat’s father-in-law passed away earlier that week and Pat had to leave for Grand Rapids.
Wyandotte is not the center of the Downriver Detroit tennis universe, yet Pat has done more than a yeoman job in promoting tennis and establishing a winning program. His kids have to practice on four courts located over a mile away from the school, but despite this difficulty, he has sent three 1S players to the state finals and this year, he took his entire team there for the third consecutive year.
His colleagues appreciate his contributions. “I look forward to seeing Coach Haley and his team for our non-league match each season,” says Riverview’s Jan Gottlin who is in charge of the MHSTeCA All Academic program. “His players are very competitive and always exhibit good sportsmanship. They are also diligent in the classroom, as they were named an All-Academic Team once again this year. His team's accomplishments are a true reflection of Coach Haley's hard work and dedication.”
“Pat is a real gentleman,” adds John Shade, the elder statesman, Hall of Famer, and coach of the Downriver’s perennial power Grosse Ile. “He does a great job with kids from the ‘blue collar’ district of Wyandotte, most whom do not play year round. The Wyandotte kids love to play for him. He always has a Varsity & JV for both boys & girls.”This grass roots nature of Pat’s success is especially admired. Given the success of this year’s youthful squad, we will be hearing more in the future from this coach of the year.
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Dave Clutts, St. Clair - Division 3
Dave Clutts started playing tennis is 7th grade with friends. “It came sort of natural to me,” he says. “I really caught the tennis bug, and played every day unless it rained.”
He began taking lessons with the community recreation department. Curtis Wright, one of the instructors who had played for MSU, took him under his wing and worked with him for a couple of years. Dave also attended Nick Bolletteri’s camp during the summer months in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.
Thus, he was well-equipped to play high school tennis for Flushing from 1983-86 under Hall of Famer Art Vince (Class of 1995). Dave went from 3D his freshman year to 1S his junior year. In his senior year, he was named to the first team Big Nine and 1st Team all area.
Dave loved the game so much that he, as an MSU student, volunteered to help out Jim Powers of nearby Okemos for four years (1987-1990). The team won the state title in 1989. But after he graduated in 1991, he went to work for Senator Don Reigle, and his tennis days seemed over.
Not so fast. Dave went back to school, this time at Western Michigan, and received a degree in education. As it turns out, St. Clair was not only looking for a social studies teacher but also someone to take over the tennis job from the legendary Hall of Famer Ron Stablein (Class of 1993) who was retiring after 36 years. Yes, timing is everything. Having met with both Ron and the principal, Dave was hired on the spot. After all, he had came to both jobs with plenty of hands-on experience.
He took advantage of the opportunity. Dave has been coaching both boys and girls for the past 14 years. The boys were in a rebuilding mode that first year (1997). They didn’t win one match but in the second year they captured four W’s and placed fourth in the regional. In 1999, they won the regional and went to the state finals. They haven’t looked back. The boys have qualified every year since then: 12 years in a row. They have also captured eight regional titles.
The girls, not to be outdone, have qualified every year since Dave has been there. They have finished in the top ten of the state for the last eight years and tied for 2nd place in 2002. They have brought home six regional trophies.
This past season was a bit of a disappointment for Dave. “In my mind this was one of the weakest teams I have coached in the past 12 years and fortunately, the guys realized that they did not want to be the first St. Clair team in 12 years not to qualify for the state finals,” he says.
Dave has a summer program that is offered through the St. Clair Recreation Department. “The summer program predates me,” he says. There are approximately 80 kids on a given year who participate. The high point of the [past] season is that fact that I had 45 kids out for the team, and a number of talented freshmen.”
He will need them. Dave loses seven from graduation but he will have the help of Dave Johnson, his assistant coach who has been with him for the past decade. “He has contributed as much as anybody to the success of the program,” he says. “I could not ask for a better coaching partner or friend who is as dedicated as anybody to the tennis program.”
Almont’s Nathan Immekus, himself a successor to a Hall of Famer (Dean Sousanis, Class of 1996), says: “Dave works hard and teaches his players not only about tennis but about the right way to act on and off the court. He is respectful toward his fellow coaches and encourages the same kind of competitive respect between his teams and their opponents.”Lots of colleagues agree, which is why the Board of Directors elected him Division 3 Coach of the Year.
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Pat Hoffmann, St. Joseph - Division 3
When Pat Hoffmann coached the boys at Lake Michigan Catholic for eight years, the team qualified for state competition six times. In addition, he also led – from 1996-2005 --the St. Joe girls to four regional championships and had six top-five finishes at the state level. In 1997, he brought home a state runner-up trophy. Two of his girls seasons were undefeated campaigns.
Thus when Pat obtained a position teaching U.S. history and economics at St. Joe, it was a natural for him to take over the boys program as well. He certainly didn’t stop being successful. In his 11 years there, his teams have won 11 consecutive regional titles and have finished in the top six of the state all 11 years. They have captured 7 conference titles in 12 season and were Division 3 state runner-up in the spring of 2007. In the fall of 2007, he brought home a Division 3 state championship trophy.
The 2009 campaign was typical. The Bears were undefeated in dual meet play, won the conference and won the regional. They finished fourth in the state.
Besides solid coaching during the season, these amazing results can be traced to what goes on in St. Joe during the summer. Pat runs the city summer program, a seven week affair with over 200 participants, ages 7-18. He also administers the program for the Summer USTA Team Tennis. Last summer, there were four teams. His 14 Advanced Team captured the West Michigan District Championship. His 18 Advanced (a combined team with Allegan) won the West Michigan District Championship and finished runner-up at the Midwest Sectional. These groups have won a total of three Midwest Sectional Championships and were national runners-up in 2005.
When Pat was voted Division 3 Coach of the Year back in 2003, he attributed his success to a tennis community that starts with an administration that provides what is needed for success (including eight new courts), is nurtured by parents who are tremendously supportive, and is sustained by what he terms “amazing young people.” But colleagues know better than to discount the coach’s extensive contributions. “You can’t outwork him,” said one coach.
His service extends beyond the school district. Last year Pat, a MHSTeCA board member, agreed to take over the task of organizing Regional Coach of the Year balloting results for presentation to the board of directors at their semi-annual meetings. As Gary Ellis, who relinquished this job to become our current secretary-treasurer, can attest that there is considerable work involved in this.
“One thing is for certain about Pat’s teams,” says Gary, “they will improved a great deal during the course of the season. He has a plan, the kids buy into it, and they peak when it counts – tournament time: conference, regionals, and state. It is amazing what he is able to get out of his kids.”
“He is not afraid to do battle with the best teams in the state,” adds Gary. He thrives on the competition and whether he comes out on top or not, he makes the experience an opportunity for learning and growth.”Pat was named MHSTeCA Division 3 Boys Coach of the Year in 2003. Six years later, it is time to renew.
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Denny Green, Harbor Springs - Division 4
Born and raised in Brighton, Denny Green played baseball, basketball, and football to such an extent that he was forced to spend six weeks during the winter of his freshman year in a leg cast due to a knee injury incurred from overuse. That following spring, he was approached by one of the school’s counselors who was starting a club tennis team with the hope of making it a varsity sport someday.
“After one season, I had found my sport,” he says. “I honed my skills anywhere I could, including countless hours hitting a ball off the side of our garage when I could not find anyone to hit with. Tennis [was a sport which] gave me the opportunity to control my own destiny and just a little time competing gave me the confidence to improve and work to elevate my game to levels that were unattainable for me in other sports.”
Denny achieved a lot in a relatively short span of time. By his junior year, he was playing No. 3 singles. This was in 1974, shortly before the installation of flight tennis at the state level. Therefore, he was able to play 1D at the regionals and qualified for state competition in Kalamazoo. “That experience is etched in my memory as one of the neatest sports accomplishments of my life,” he says of the opportunity to compete on the courts of Stowe Stadium.
“Now as a coach, every year I make it our number one goal to try to get to the state finals as a team,” he continues. “Fortunately during my 12 years, Harbor has qualified eight times for the Finals. Our best finish was in 2000 when we placed 9th with 7 points. Each year I remind all of our players how special it is just to get to go to the State Finals. It is my hope that each team member should cherish the experience as much as I did in 1974.”
Prospects look good that he and his kids will return. “This year’s team was the most improved I have ever coached,” he says. “It was the youngest team ever with four freshmen and two sophomores.”
Because many of his kids had come into his program with little or no competitive experience, Denny did what all successful coaches do: he traveled far and wide to seek better competition. However, given the location of Harbor Springs, travel is more arduous for him than for many other tennis coaches around the state. Going to Nancy Brissette’s Essexville Garber Quad and Jim Niebling’s Portland Quad meant four-hour journeys.
Denny’s success is no surprise to Brian Martin, Brighton’s coach during that 1974 campaign and himself a MHSTeCA Boys Coach of the Year (2004). “He was a team leader then and continues that guidance today with the players on his teams,” he says. “I was extremely happy when he accepted the Harbor Springs coaching position so that he could share his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game with high school players.”
“The sport of tennis has brought so much joy and so many wonderful experiences to me over the past 36 years that it has become my passion,” confirms Denny. “If I can pass on just a little of that passion to each and every player that I coach, then I can feel that I have given back just a fraction of the enjoyment that I have been able to experience.
“My teams competed against Denny’s for many years,” says former Petoskey coach Ralph Tramontini, “and Denny never lost sight of that fact that tennis is a game and that it should be fun. His teams are a reflection of the man himself – sportsmanship above win-at-all-cost. His teams always make great strides in skill level over the course of a season.”
“Denny puts countless hours into his program,” adds current Petoskey coach John Boyer. “He is respected by his team, parents, and community for not only his knowledge of the game but for being an excellent role model. Denny’s first priority is not winning. He wants what’s best for the kids including the opposing players. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
The board of directors agrees.
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