Bernie McGuire just wanted to see more kids playing tennis. Now, his wish has helped him earn national recognition.
The USTA has named McGuire, the boys and girls coach at Hammond School, to its No-Cut Coach All-Star Team. The team recognizes 14 high school coaches throughout the nation who have implemented a “no-cut” policy that welcomes all interested students to be a part of the team.
The No-Cut Coach All-Star Team was established last year to recognize a coaches nationwide for their achievements in offering a “no-cut” policy. Coaches are nominated by their respective USTA Section.
McGuire, who is a member of the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame, was nominated by USTA South Carolina and then the USTA Southern Section.
Hammond School tennis programs had cut players before McGuire started there in January 2009. He knew welcoming all interested players would be more work, but that didn’t matter to McGuire, who had recently retired after 31 years as director of tennis for the Richland County Recreation Commission.
“I didn’t want to turn anybody away,” he said.
Since 2009, no boy or girl who has wanted to join the tennis teams has been turned away.
Hammond senior Elizabeth Haas said if McGuire would have cut players in 2009 when she was in seventh grade, she wouldn’t have made the team. At the time, she had never picked up a racket and wanted to try a sport she knew she could play all her life.
“I didn’t even know what a forehand was,” Haas said.
This fall, she played varsity doubles. She plans to keep playing tennis after high school as well.
This fall, McGuire’s girls team had 60 players, up from the 24 who played in fall 2009. The number of players on the boys team has grown as well.
McGuire spends more hours planning his practices and more time at school running the practices.
“The more the merrier,” he said.
McGuire will be honored in January at the USTA Southern Section Annual Meeting in Atlanta. Other USTA Southern award winners from the Midlands:
Southern Tennis Professional of the Year: Carlos Lozano, Topspin Racquet & Swim Club; Lexington.
Tennis on Campus Leader of the Year: Zach Errickson, University of South Carolina.
Aces The Lexington Legends, a team comprised of some of the best high school players in the Midlands, placed fourth at the USTA Junior Team Tennis 18 and Under National Championships last month.
The Lexington Legends: Abby Cooper, Irmo High; Amy Lance, Lexington High; Jerry Price, Airport High; Katie Thompson, Lexington High; Lauren Joch, Dutch Fork High; Logan Adkins, Lexington High; Mark Carnes, home schooled, Sumter; Samantha Calais, Dutch Fork High; Savanna Fuller, Chapin High; Thomas Bryan, Lexington.
Combo doubles Congrats to the Midlands teams that did well at the USTA South Carolina Combo Doubles State League Championships last month.
Team captains of state champions and finalists: Vicki Williamson, Susie Wolfson, Gina Morris, Amy Beall, Priscilla McCormick, David Edwards, Larry Guster, Becky Hipp, Susan Taylor, Harriett Reid, and Jessica Hallman.
Also, Rob Szwec and his Columbia team were finalists at the USTA Southern Mixed Doubles Section Championships.
Braden works for USTA South Carolina in Columbia. He can be reached at email@example.com.