2009 High School coach of the Year: Rich Johns
Tennis most likely was in the cards all along for Rich Johns of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. After all, his middle name is “Ace.”
Johns, who is the tennis coach at Saratoga Springs High School, has led his teams to 17 league championships and nine sectional titles. But more important, he runs a No-Cut tennis program that, over his remarkable 35 years of coaching, has had as many as 150 players. Honored by the USTA recently with its Starfish Award, Johns is RSI’s 2009 High School Coach of the Year.
“Rich is widely recognized for many contributions on and off the court,” says USTA School Tennis Manager Jason Jamison. “He’s kept tennis in the forefront in his local community and has made a significant impact on the lives of students.”
“Our program’s foundation deals with respect,” Johns says. “Kids understand that the core values that are most important to us are respecting the game, yourself, your opponents, the spectators, your coach. You’re around good people and we expect you to be that way, too. I take that into the classroom, also.” Johns is a social studies teacher in the middle school.
Over the years, Johns has gained a lot of support from the community, and it’s helped him build his program and promote tennis. In fact, he was able to push a building project that placed 12 courts in a prime area on the high school campus. There are another six courts at the middle school.
“I’m fortunate to be here in Saratoga Springs,” says Johns. “The community, school district, parents and players are all so supportive of what we try to do.”
Tips for success
- Give credit where due. Johns acknowledges the support of players, coaches, parents, the school district and the community at large.
- Show respect to your students, and they’ll respect you, your coaches, the game, and their peers and opponents.
- Get involved in the district and community. It helps build the relationships you need to grow the program.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.