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Issue #21    A final chapter for Judy as coach of the UMass tennis team    9/12/2016
Dear All,

After 25 years I am stepping down as Head Coach for the University of Massachusetts effective June 30, 2017. This will be my last year coaching the tennis team. When I took the job those many years ago I thought that I would stay for 1 year and then move back into the corporate marketing world. However I found my passion. I have heard it said that if you love your job it's really not a job at all. This has been true for me. I have been lucky to be able to offer athletic scholarships to student-athletes many of whom without aid would not have been able to afford an education. I have watched countless men and women grow, mature and expand their horizons--all of this on a daily basis. And as the years passed by I am lucky enough to have remained in contact with many of them as they moved on to full productive lives.

Years ago when I began, the team had one scholarship to offer to a student who would attend and play tennis at UMass. Today, the tennis program is fully funded with 8 full rides. I remember my first day of work crammed in a tiny office in Boyden Gym when Liesl Sitton walked in, introduced herself, and told me that she was going to be my #1 player. After much eye rolling on my part I took her out to the courts to hit. In fact she was good, no, she was great, and still remains one of the best players who ever played for UMass. I gave her the only scholarship available at the time, and at the end of that year she offered half of her scholarship back to me so that I could recruit another skilled player. This was a selfless act of generosity, one that has stayed with me. There have been many of these stories during my tenure.

While the teams (both men and women) accomplished much, I am most proud of who they are and not what they did. I tried to instill in all of the players the importance of team. Sometimes for tennis players this was a difficult concept to grasp but looking back over the years I can see that they got it. Many of the players have remained friends over the years, vacationing together with their families and sharing important moments in their lives. Their continued attachment means more than anything to me.

I am also proud of those individuals who grabbed the opportunity to get an education when they thought that a degree was out of reach. Watching their self-esteem grow with every success in the classroom was a treat. Many of these student-athletes went on to Graduate School and excellent careers, and I am so proud of their accomplishments.

So when I walk out the door of my office for the last time in June I will take many memories with me. The successes and the failures are all part of my memory bank but what will always remain in my heart are the connections with the players. Their passion, dedication, struggles, and tears are things I carry. Most importantly I carry their compassion and love for each other… This is a lot to take with me.
 
With respect and love,
Judy
Spaces are still available to join the 2016-17 UMass Tennis Team for a Hit Around on October 1st. See flyer below for more information or email Lxi@umass.edu. Judy hopes you will support the team this season, especially as it is her last season, by attending matches or joining the Friends of UMass Tennis (FUMT). FUMT announces team matches and sponsors community events to support the UMASS Tennis Team. To receive future FUMT emails, please send an email to George Forman at Geforman@gmail.com.
Copyright © 2016 Judy Dixon Tennis, All rights reserved.


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