Matt Wiemers Receives Gold Star Award
To honor their 100th anniversary in 2020, the USTA Missouri Valley is recognizing 100 deserving recipients with the Gold Star Award. This award recognizes contributions that recipients have made in growing the game of tennis in their community. One of the first Nebraska winners, just announced this month, is Matt Wiemers of McCook.
When Matt Wiemers played tennis at McCook Senior High School in the 1980’s, he never imagined he would return years later as the head tennis coach. After all, his passions were basketball and volleyball. He even played basketball at McCook Community College, and later coached there as well. However, he quickly discovered a new passion: tennis.
“I enjoy tennis because it requires so many facets, athleticism, strategy, mental toughness and drive,” Wiemers explained. “As a player I prefer singles because I want all the pressure on me. But now as a coach, I love teaching doubles and the fast pace and quick reflexes it takes to be a proficient player.”
Wiemers has been coaching boys' and girls' high school tennis for twenty years in McCook. He’s also an elementary school P.E. teacher.
He decided to offer a no-cut tennis program at the high school level, and has never looked back on that decision.
“Running a no-cut program requires more time from coaches, flexibility from our players and families, and a school that supports what you do,” he said. “With the larger team numbers and only two coaches, we have split our teams into two practice sessions which provides much better one-on-one coaching.”
Wiemers and his assistant coach, Greg Larson, also put on summer tennis camps in the local community that continue to grow each year. They started the camps in 2000 with 12 participants. Now, more than 100 kids attend each summer.
“We are so proud of the programs we have built and the many opportunities tennis offers to the students of our community and Southwest Nebraska,” Wiemers added. “We look forward to continuing to build the sport and finding new avenues to better enrich our players, both young and old.”
Normally during this time of year, Wiemers would be out on the courts daily with his girls’ team, practicing and playing matches. However, the COVID-19 suspension of play has put a stop to this.
Instead, he is in regular contact with them either by email, text or a Zoom video meeting. He hopes to have a senior tennis event once the restrictions are lifted.
The recipients of the Gold Star Award will receive personal items to keep, a plaque and a special gift. Congratulations to all of the Gold Star Award recipients.
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