“Since Scooter has returned to Grosse Ile, our teams have become even better than they ever were. He has brought a new passion and love of the game with him that is contagious,” says Hall of Fame coach John Shade.
That seems to be an understatement. After all, this past fall, Grosse Ile won the Division 4 state championship. John gives much of the credit to his assistant coach who once played for the school, graduated from GIHS in 1997, and then went on to play on scholarship for the University of Indianapolis. When he returned home from college, Scooter would volunteer to run a tournament site for the league meet or the regional. “Even though he was recently hired into a paid position for the boys team, he still volunteers as a girls coach,” says John. “He attends every state tournament that the boys and girls teams qualify for, no matter what the location.”
He also helps these kids get there. “When he returned to Grosse Ile, he started to organize summer hit-arounds with current players, parents, and alumni home for the summer,” says John. “It is not unusual for him to have four or five courts going. During the season, he is always playing with players after practice and on Sundays.”
An account executive, Scooter is also a part-time assistant pro and junior teams coach at the Grosse Ile Tennis Center and a certified professional with the Professional Tennis Registry. He holds the Grosse Ile record for singles wins while playing for John: all four years in singles and #1 in his senior year when he was named all state honorable mention. “I have coached both boys and girls at GIHS for 36 years and have 600+ wins combined,” says John. “Scooter was a part of many of those as a player and now as a coach.”
Consider Grosse Ile’s recent record: 2004, 3rd; 2005, state champs; 2006, 10th; 2007 spring, 4th; 2007 fall, state champs. “He is obviously a very motivating individual,” says John. “He is a tremendous asset to Grosse Ile High School tennis.”
Scooter: A proficient tennis player. A qualified teaching pro. A superb organizer. An always-ready supporter. An excellent motivator. MHSTeCA’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
Riverview head coach Jan Gottlin first met Harvey Payne when he joined a senior tennis mixer that she had organized at the Downriver Racquet Club. He had recently retired from BASF in Wyandotte and had decided to participate in the weekly event. In a prior life, he had grown up in the community and had played for the Wyandotte Bears. He was skilled, according to Jan, but more importantly, he was a gentleman both on and off the court.
After play one week, Jan casually asked Harvey if he might be interested in sharing his expertise at some of the high school practices. Eighteen years – and 36 seasons – later, he is our association’s Assistant Coach of the Year.
And for good reason. For almost two decades, Harvey has arrived early to Riverview practices, set out the ball hoppers, taken serves, and hit with players until practice officially starts. He coaches at the dual meets, Saturday tournaments, league meets, and regional tournaments, and attends the team pasta dinners. Harvey and his wife Doris have been to the state tournament each and every time the team has qualified. “No matter what he has scheduled in his personal life, he always makes it to practice or to the match,” says Jan.
There have been exceptions, one being when a driver ran a stop sign two blocks from Harvey’s home and flipped Harvey’s van. Harvey was hospitalized, required surgery, and wore a “halo” for months. But as soon as he was given the release, he was back on the Riverview courts. In addition, he hasn’t allowed a pacemaker, implanted a few years ago, to interfere with his coaching duties.
To say that the Riverview tennis program has been very fortunate to have Harvey Payne as a volunteer assistant tennis coach is an understatement. Indeed one of several reasons why the Riverview tennis program is so respected has to come from the multiple services provided for so long by Assistant Coach Payne. “Er, make that Assistant Coach of the Year Payne.
Top of page