Not only is Lone Star College-CyFair’s tennis team proving to be aces on and off the court, so is their coach Tim Sebesta who received the 2008 Professional Tennis Ace Award in Austin earlier this month.
Each year the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) and The United States Tennis Association (USTA) awards only one tennis coach this national honor which recognizes outstanding leadership in promoting, organizing and/or supporting recreational tennis participation on campus.
“I am shocked and honored to receive this recognition, but it’s always been about the team, about helping them do their best and having fun,” said Sebesta.
Coach Tim Sebesta (6th from left) receiving his Ace Award.
While building this LSC-CyFair tennis program into one of the largest among community colleges in Texas, Sebesta has helped his players succeed on the court, in the classroom and beyond.
“We have only lost one dual match in the past four years. We have a 13-1 dual match record. We were within one point of defeating the three-time defending national champion (Texas A&M University) at a Houston Regional Tournament during the fall of 2007,” Sebesta said. “Our number one woman player, Jamie O’Leary, went undefeated in the tournament, posting wins over Texas A&M University, University of Texas and SMU.”
Two of his former players have received tennis scholarships to four-year universities and several this season are poised to receive offers.
“I am always impressed with how the team plays, along with how well they also perform in the classroom,” said Ted Lewis, instructional dean at LSC-CyFair. “Tim works very closely with his students to maintain high standards in order to find tennis scholarships for his athletes to universities.”
When creating his tennis team four years ago, Sebesta’s goal was for everyone to make the team, so there are no try outs, and to provide a fun environment. His hope was to supply the equipment and uniforms many did not have access to during their high school tennis years.
“I wanted to give the players a sense of self-worth … to have everything they need to become a better player and person,” said Sebesta, who coaches the men’s and women’s squads and hosts high school and college invitational tournaments each season.
He also wants his students to learn respect and the importance of community outreach. Therefore LSC-CyFair tennis players assist supervisors with set up and clean up at campus tournaments. The team also donated tennis balls to assisted living centers in the community as well as racquets and strings to the Liberian Tennis Federation. In addition, the team hangs out together off the court too. Players plan barbeques, camping trips, parties, movies and a Super Bowl “bring your own steak” event.
Sebesta said he’s almost at the point where he doesn’t need to market the program because of the players and word of mouth.
“Tim is a fantastic person and was very humbled at the nomination,” said Todd Carlson, College Program Coordinator USTA Texas Section, who nominated Sebesta for the award.
For information on the LSC-CyFair tennis team, call Sebesta at 281-290-3918 or visit the tennis team web site at http://cyfair.lonestar.edu/tennisteam.