Before the serves and volleys came hugs and handshakes at the Metro High School Tennis Championships on Thursday. John Carroll of Millard North was inducted into the Metro Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame.
He would still be coaching except cancer forced him to retire after 35 years. Despite chemo treatments, he attended the induction ceremony at Omaha’s Koch Tennis Center prior to the tournament finals.
A former player for Carroll who now coaches at Burke High School brought a few tears to the crowd. “Thanks for being my coach, thanks for being my friend, thanks for having such an influence on me and thanks for making me feel like I always belonged,” said Burke coach Matt Schaffer.
“I do this because of the kids,” said Carroll. “I don't do this because I get paid for it. I do it because I love the kids.”
Though he's not officially the Millard North coach this season, Carroll had to be near courtside to encourage another generation of tennis players.