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Longtime Midlands Coach Receives National Recognition

October 16, 2014 11:25 AM

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Bernie McGuire just wanted to see more kids playing tennis. Now his simple desire has helped him earn national recognition.

The USTA has named McGuire, the head boys and girls tennis coach at Hammond School in Columbia, to its 2014 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team. The team recognizes 14 exceptional high school coaches throughout the nation who have implemented a “no-cut” policy that welcomes all interested students to be a part of their school’s tennis team.

The No-Cut Coach All-Star Team was established last year to recognize a select group of coaches nationwide for their special achievements in offering a “No-Cut Tennis” 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.

“Throughout the year, these coaches play an integral role in the development of student-athletes and the success of No-Cut Tennis,” said Glenn Arrington, USTA National Manager, High School Tennis. “We applaud their efforts at encouraging players of all levels and allowing them to share in a rewarding team experience at their school.”

 
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The Hammond School girls tennis team this fall. McGuire is in the third row, far right. (Submitted photo.)

The Hammond School tennis programs had cut players before McGuire started there in January 2009. He knew changing the programs and welcoming all interested players on the teams 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.

So since 2009, no boy or girl who has wanted to join the tennis teams has been turned away. And more kids keep signing up.

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.

The larger teams have meant more work for McGuire.

He spends more hours planning his practices and more time at school running the practices. But it’s all worth it. “The more the merrier,” he said.

Elizabeth Haas also favors McGuire running no-cut programs.

Elizabeth, a senior at Hammond School, 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 tennis racquet and just wanted to try a sport she knew she could play all her life.

“I didn’t even know what a forehand was,” Elizabeth said.

This fall, she played varsity doubles. She also plans to keep playing tennis after high school.

“It’s not something I’m going to have to quit after I graduate,” she said.

McGuire will be honored in January at the USTA Southern Section Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Click here to read more about the 2014 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team.

 

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