The United States Tennis Association announced the eighteen national finalists for the 2010 USTA Starfish Award, honoring high school coaches who implement a "No Cut" policy for their high school tennis team.
A No-Cut policy essentially means every student who wishes to play is welcomed as a member of the team. Some programs have more than 100 official high school tennis team members. The coaches of these teams serve as positive role models and make a difference by spending the extra time and effort to ensure that thousands of young players experience the fun of representing their high school tennis team.
"These coaches have gone above and beyond their duties as a No-Cut coach by impacting the lives of their players both on and off the tennis court," said Kirk Anderson, Director of Recreational Coaches and Programs, USTA. "As a result of their dedication and unwavering commitment to the No-Cut program, the USTA has selected these coaches from a pool of over 3,300 coaches for the 2010 Starfish Award."
The USTA will recognize two national winners at the 40th annual USTA Tennis Teachers Conference on August 30th in New York City. The Starfish Award is in its sixth year of existence and has honored ten winners since 2005.
To qualify as a Starfish Award winner coaches must have implemented the No-Cut program at a high school and be nominated by USTA Sectional Coordinators. Final winners are determined by a select panel of USTA committee members, staff, volunteers and career no-cut coaches.
All registered no-cut coaches have access to updates and tips from the No-Cut Coaches Advisory Team and an interactive coaches forum. Comprised of seasoned and successful no-cut high school coaches, the Advisory Team offers advice, guidance and resources to coaches who are challenged by the obstacles of working with such large teams.
Jim Begin, Waterville, Maine - Waterville High School
Joe Benedict, Cedar Rapids, Iowa - John F. Kennedy High School
George A. Crouse, Jr., Pawcatuck, Conn. - Stonington High School
Corbin Graves, Tallahassee, Fla. - Maclay School
Kenneth Griffith, Indian Head, Md. - Henry E. Lackey High School
Mitzi Jeppesen, Layton, Utah - Northridge High School
Ryan Kalis, Kansas City, Mo. - Park Hill High School
Matt Lee, Honolulu, Hawaii - Kalani High School
Paul Midkiff, Macon, Ga - Mount de Sales Academy
Jim Neal, Schenectady, N.Y - Niskayuna High School
Paul Pautsch, Bentonville, Ariz. - Bentonville High School
Peter Sok, Westchester, Pa. - West Chester Henderson High School
Jim Solomon, West Hartford, Conn. - Hall High School
David Steinbach, Brookfield, Wis. - Brookfield Central High School
Irene Tharin, Palm Harbor, Fla. - Palm Harbor University High School
Eric Voges, Chattanooga, Tenn - McCallie High School.
Bill Wagstaff, Spokane, Wash - Mead High School
Matt Wiemers, McCook, Neb - McCook High School