By R. Alan Richardson
Coach Stacy Dearing has been hired by the Morgan County School System as the new head boys’ and girls’ head tennis coach for the upcoming year. Dearing is no stranger to us as she has served the past 12 years as a counselor at Morgan County Elementary School and has been a licensed professional counselor for the past 17 years. She’s also no stranger to athletics. She said, “Honestly my background is in golf. I received a full-ride scholarship to play at Wyoming for two years and then transferred to Florida State University to do the same.” She graduated there in 1996, but always had a love for tennis and still does. Growing up in a country club style environment, the tennis courts were always available to her.
“My dad, Wayne Manger, started teaching me to play golf when I was about nine years old, but I always enjoyed tennis. As I’ve gotten older I found tennis again and now compete in the COTA USTA tennis league locally. Like golf, it’s a sport you can compete in for the rest of your life,” she said.
Dearing told us that she got involved coaching tennis at MCHS last year when Coach Greg Thompson needed help coaching the JV squad. When Thompson told her he was stepping down, he asked her if she would be interested in the job. Here’s what she told him, “I love these kids and this community. Of course I want it if they’ll have me. I’d love the challenge.” She says that as a counselor she’s always been fascinated with people and especially coaches. “People like Bobby Bowden at FSU, Vince Lombardi, and Bill Malone have influenced me. I’m a huge football fan and think the world of Coach Malone. He’s awesome,” she said.
The teams next year may have some different voids to fill or not to fill. The boys graduated their top three singles’ players while the girls return everyone in the starting rotation. However, it looks like one of the top singles positions will be filled by upcoming ninth grader, Chandler Brady. He is ranked at 73 in the state at 14 and under and overall in the top 200 in the state.
The girls look to be a force in AAA for 2017. “All the girls are playing, hitting, working with a tennis pro, and they want it. They have a fire in their belly to take it to the next level this season. Our montra will be “Are you all in?” and they are. The sky’s the limit for this group of girls with such tremendous talent.”
Last week Coach Dearing held the annual MCRD tennis camp for 6-14 year olds with 31 campers in attendance. She told us, “We had varsity boys and girls players as well as one graduate (Will Spaites) helping out as camp counselors. The camp would not have been as successful without my incredible varsity team “camp counselors: Carley Henry, Clara Arienzo and Callie Arienzo.”
The focus was on the basics of the fundamentals of tennis, rules of the game, forehands, backhands, service game, and volleying. She said her goal was to have fun and bring these youngsters to the sport of tennis. They put it all together on the last day with a mini tennis tournament that including understanding scoring, etiquette, and sportsmanship as well as introducing them to the USTA tournament setup.