High School coach of the Year: Terry Valdez
“With sports,” says Terry Valdez of Wenatchee, Wash., “it’s about the memories. You remember the fun times.”
Valdez has been helping create fun memories for his tennis players for 30 years. The coach of the Eastmont High School boys’ and girls’ teams, he has always had a “no-cut” policy, allowing any student who wanted to play to be a part of the team. Last year, Valdez had a total of about 85 students on his teams. In his biggest year, he had about 120 students.
“My mentor was my Little League baseball coach,” Valdez says. “He was a real believer that everyone should play an equal amount of time in the game, whether we win or lose. It was a great way of building us up.”
For his long-term commitment and implementation of a no-cut policy, and for enriching the lives of his players, Valdez was honored with the 2012 USTA Starfish Award for high school coaches. And he also is RSI’s 2012 High School Coach of the Year.
“Ensuring that all players receive real match playing time and treating all of them as equals is a sign of Terry’s devotion to emphasize the one-team concept,” says Kurt Kamperman, USTA chief executive of Community Tennis.
Valdez, who also was a recipient of the Elliston President’s Award for North Central Athletics for positively impacting youth and high school tennis, recently retired from teaching (he was an art teacher) and coaching the high school team. However, he remains active with his local community tennis association and still supports the high school program.
“For some coaches, it’s all about winning,” he says. “For me, it’s about giving kids great memories.”
Tips for Success
- Kids will remember the fun times they have in sports. “With our kids, we noticed they really enjoyed the camaraderie — and the bus trips,” says Valdez.
- Get all the students on the team; you’ll figure out a way to handle it.
- Fun plus discipline means the kids will improve their tennis.
See all articles by Peter Francesconi
About the Author
Peter Francesconi is editorial director of RSI magazine.