ALPENA – For the better part of two decades, Charlie Giordano has been dedicated to teaching tennis players how to play and respect the game.
These teachings have left an impression on dozens of athletes and they have not gone unnoticed by his peers. Giordano, Alpena High’s longtime tennis coach, was recently named Regional Coach of the Year by the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association.
His name, along with winners from other regions, will be submitted to the Board of Directors for consideration for State Coach of the Year honors for his division.
“In our region, there are a lot of very strong teams. The coach of the year is elected by other coaches and I am not a shouting coach, a screamer, and I am not jumping for joy. I was surprised (to win) and that’s pretty cool,” said Giordano. “It’s always nice to be recognized for doing something right or doing something the right way.”
Giordano got his start with the Alpena tennis teams as an assistant under Mike Kumrits and Mike Stentoumis in the early 2000s and took over as head coach of both Alpena teams during the coming years.
As a coach, Giordano has always focused on more than winning and losing. For him, the joy of coaching comes from teaching the game and seeing his players grow over the season. Some seasons Giordano started from scratch, teaching players the proper way to keep score and hit certain shots. In other seasons, with more experienced players, the focus was more on footwork and strategy.
Whatever his type of team, Giordano always taught his players to respect the game and to respect their opponents.
“I love giving the game to children; seeing the joy children feel when they realize they have improved,” Giordano said. “Watching them do something they didn’t think they could do or overcome something that was a problem (is rewarding).”
Although Giordano was happy with the award, he said he was one small cog in a larger group that helped develop tennis at Alpena, including parents, community members, players and others. coaches.
“I learned so much through playing and met so many great people through tennis,” Giordano said. “I love helping kids become tennis players, not just kids who play tennis.”