Celebrating Black History Month
Whitney Young HS Tennis
USTA Midwest | February 27, 2018
Whitney Young Team Photo
Darinka Stepan (third from left), Camryn Salter (holding trophy) and twins Madison and Mackenzie Beckham. Coach Williard far right. Sara Williams not pictured.
The Whitney M. Young Magnet High School Girls 2017 tennis team was the first Chicago Public School to win a state championship!
Coached by Dempsey Willard, the team is made up of five young women, four of which are African American, making this championship historic in the Chicago community. Referred to as the “Fabulous Five”, the team includes Darinka Stepan, Camryn Salter, Sara Williams and twins Madison and Mackenzie Beckham.
Willard has been the coach for 17 years and says he knew they had a chance to win when these players became seniors. He worked hard to inspire the girls and help them understand their potential. ADVERTISEMENT
“My Heavenly Father inspires me and I stated to the girls that if they give all of their HEART, MIND and SOUL to Whitney Young tennis that they are already champions.” However, Williard admits that actually winning the championship means a lot.
“The best part of my career so far is winning the state title and knowing that it will be a part of this varsity team’s legacy,” Willard said.
Coach Willard started playing in 1971 under the direction of Walter Johnson who was taught by the legendary Arthur Ashe. Just as his instructor would be proud of him, he is proud of his players as several have received college scholarships, making them an inspiration to other young people in their community.
CLICK HERE to read an article in the Chicago Crusader newspaper about the team and this historic victory!