Troy Saulsbury Grows Kearney Tennis
To honor its 100th anniversary in 2020, 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.
Troy Saulsbury has been coaching high school tennis for more than 20 years in Kearney. Since 1997 he’s coached boys’ and girls’ tennis at Kearney Catholic and Kearney High Schools. He is the latest recipient of USTA Nebraska’s Gold Star Award for his coaching and mentoring work in the local community.
“I am extremely honored to be recognized by the Missouri Valley for this award,” he said. “Our section has so many dedicated and talented people that continue to grow the game of tennis. I am extremely proud to have my name included with this distinguished group.”
A native of Lexington, Saulsbury attended Lexington High School and was part of the first-ever tennis team when it started up in 1993.
“My high school class petitioned the school board to get tennis added as a high school sport,” he recalled. “My junior year was the first year Lexington had a high school tennis team.”
The 43-year old has had his share of ups and downs over the years as a coach, especially trying to balance a roster of more than 40 girls and making sure everyone gets a chance to play.
However, the cancellation of the 2020 girls’ season this past spring was one of the hardest things he’s had to deal with.
“It was a pretty tough pill to swallow,” He said. “I feel terrible for all of the seniors who didn’t get to have their final shining moments on the tennis court.” Fortunately they were able to have one final practice before COVID-19, and that’s a memory he will never forget.
When he’s coaching, Saulsbury said it’s more than just developing fundamental strokes. He also likes to instill the mental and strategic components of tennis.
“Most importantly, my main goal is to develop well-rounded citizens who embody the highest level of sportsmanship and understand the importance of giving back to the community,” he added. “It’s very rewarding when a former player becomes a high school coach and colleague.”
As for the future, he plans to keep on coaching for many years to come in Kearney, especially with plans for indoor courts in the community to expose even more youth to the game of tennis.
“One exciting development is that we are in the final stages of fundraising for a brand new six-court indoor tennis facility. Construction should be completed in the next 18-24 months. I look forward to having a place the Kearney community can play tennis year-round.”
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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