HighFIVE: Maureen Kechriotis
Sometimes, the crazy ideas are the best ones.
Just ask Maureen Kechriotis, head coach of the boys and girls tennis teams at Denver South High School, as that’s how she describes her path to coaching. In 2018, a neighbor suggested she meet a friend of his to talk about assistant coaching the team. Kechriotis, affectionately known as Coach Mo, met with then head coach, Laura Leonard, and a partnership was born. Shortly after, Leonard left her position to start a family, Coach Mo became the head coach and the past three years have been nothing but success.
Born in Michigan, moved to Colorado at age 10, Coach Mo played soccer and ran track at Cherry Creek High School and went on to graduate from CU. After traveling the world, she settled back in Colorado. Soon after, she started a family and picked up tennis when her now teenage kids started elementary school.
“I was pretty much obsessed with it after my first time on court,” says Mo. She credits her husband, John, and her coach, Jeff Salzenstein, with elevating her to the player, competitor and coach that she is today.
And what a coach she is! In the past three years, Denver South has seen a tremendous increase in both interest and success in tennis.
“In 2018, we had 40 boys and last season we had 90, although we did have to make cuts due to COVID. On the girls’ side, we had 22 interested in 2018 and had 60 this year but, again, had to make cuts.”
In 2019 and 2020, the boys were regional runners up and qualified three positions for state both years, a first in 30 years! The girls were regional runners up this year and also qualified three positions to state.
“I truly enjoy sharing my love of tennis with the kids. It provides life changing benefits — playing a sport, being on a team, building and connecting with a community,” says Coach Mo.
Community plays a strong role for Mo at Denver South. She credits her community of assistant coaches to her success. She has been offered coaching positions at other schools, but says she loves the Denver South community and has great pride in the program.
Kristy Harris, USTA Colorado Community Development Director, has seen first-hand the impact Mo has had on the Denver South tennis community and high school tennis as a whole.
“She’s a HUGE tennis promoter. She wants every kid who is interested to have a chance to play. She organizes together Junior Team Tennis (JTT) teams, she supported the first High School JV Invitational Team Tournament and quickly offered South High School courts and arranged to have courts at Denver Tennis Park available as well."
The future of tennis at Denver South looks great with Coach Mo at the helm.
“I go into each season with the following goals. First, improve tennis skills, match play and mindset. Next, become a better player, student, teammate, person. And third, growth in tennis, friendships, communication, collaboration, commitment, leadership, and perseverance” says Coach Mo.
Sounds like a winning combination!
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