Dubuque's Dishon Deering Hopes to Inspire Others to Serve Tennis Communities
February is Black History Month and this month we recognize Dishon Deering of Dubuque for his achievements in the tennis community.
Dishon Deering has spent the past 13 years at the University of Dubuque. He started as an undergraduate student, then graduate student, adjunct professor and tennis coach. He is currently the head men’s and women’s tennis coach and is also vice president for USTA Iowa.
“I may be the first African-American in this position, but hopefully I will not be the last and I hope I can encourage others to step out and serve their tennis communities both at the local and state level,” he said.
Deering moved to Iowa from Orlando, Florida, to play tennis. Though tennis wasn’t popular in his circle of friends, it was for his parents and that’s how he first started playing the sport. He enjoys many things about tennis, especially how it has the ability to unite players through the experience.
“I would have to say the relational aspect of tennis is what I enjoy the most,” Deering said. “Being able to relate to anyone of any culture or background and communicate through the language of tennis unites us and the experience is second to none.”
Deering said Black History Month is important because it brings attention to black history and culture to those who may not know it. He believes the awareness should go beyond one month a year.
“Taking this time during Black History Month stirs something inside of us to do better as a community- to uplift others and lift as we climb,” he said. “Tennis holds a strong connection to black history, and as the late great Arthur Ashe once said ‘Start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.’ I hope we all learn to understand each other and have compassion and love for one another.”
Growing up in the Orlando metro area, tennis was more diverse than it is in the Midwest, but there is always more work to be done in making the sport available to all, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.
“Tennis represents a wide array of people and for that this sport is special,” he said, but there are ways to improve. “Offering the sport in different communities both high and low status, and cultivating interest and retaining those players. I believe the USTA is doing a good job with these initiatives on the local, state and national level.”
When he’s not teaching or coaching, Deering enjoys spending time with his two children, Isaiah and Valencia. He also plays the guitar and drums and enjoys traveling back to Florida where he can cheer on his favorite sports teams.