Originally Published: April 19, 2007 12:15 a.m.
I caught up with Sterling Fetty, the Prescott High School boys' tennis coach, this week. Sterling, a first-year high school coach, is a USPTA Tennis Professional who works full time at the Prescott Racquet Club. He's married to Jeanelle and has twin 2 ½ year old boys, Lleyton and Camden. He's also a graduate from Prescott High School and former Badger tennis player who won the 4A State doubles title in 2000.
You won the 4A State doubles high school tennis championships seven years ago with Cory Bennett. What was that experience like for you? Did you play as a junior?
"I moved to Prescott in 1999 as a senior in high school. I wasn't too excited about the move, but heard that there was another senior on the tennis team whom I might team up with for doubles at PHS. It turned out to be a great year partnering with Cory, as we ended up winning the State title and going undefeated all season. That title has been the highlight of my playing tennis career thus far."
"I grew up playing tennis in Utah and Idaho and my father was/is a well-versed tennis player, he spent tons of time with me. I went through the USTA junior program and played sanctioned tournaments each summer."
How has it gone in your first year as tennis coach at PHS? What was the learning curve like?
"It's been a great year so far, and I feel fortunate to have had the unique opportunity at the age of 25 to coach the boy's tennis team. I wasn't sure how this was going to work since I already worked with most of the boys at the Prescott Racquet Club. I didn't realize how different running a team would be, since playing tennis is such an individual sport...blending a team together was the hardest part."
"It was a very big help to have Miguel Phelps, a former college coach and tennis instructor at the PRC, lending a hand, spending a great deal of time and with so many great ideas and drills."
"When the season started the boys were all about themselves, asking questions like, 'Where will I be on the team', 'When can I challenge up', 'Why do I have to do this or that.' Now our players line up along the fence helping to will the guys on the court to win. As we ready for regionals and state I believe that camaraderie will be key."
What do you expect from your players? What should they expect from you?
"Other than the normal aspect of giving your best no matter the score, is keeping a positive attitude and good sportsmanship. The major point was dealing with choices. I told them I was going to have to make choices that they may disagree with and they may make choices that I disagree with, but it would be how we handled those decisions that was going to make or break us.
"That lesson seemed to shine though in the last match where they chose to come together as a team."
Going into regional and State competition how will you set your lineup? What are your expectations?
"The players who will continue to regionals and hopefully state are; Jamison Phelps, Steven Dyer, Mathew Polk, Nate Irwin, Jake Corby, Nikil Selvam and Keith Williams. Jamison and Jake will play singles, and our doubles teams will be Steven and Nate, Mathew and Keith."
"I believe that Jamison Phelps and both doubles teams will have a great chance at being seeded in the regional tournament."
How do you like the new PHS tennis facility?
"We're the luckiest tennis team ever with our new facility. I hope the boys realize how nice the courts are and how thankful we are to everyone who made this possible."
Will we see Sterling Fetty coaching at PHS for a few years yet?
"I do hope to coach next year if possible. Since I'm not a regular school district employee, I'm not sure what might happen, but I'd love to do this again."
(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or firstname.lastname@example.org)