Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Complex

Last Friday, the new tennis facility at Wichita Collegiate School was formally dedicated and very appropraitely named after my brother, Dave. When the Wichita Eagle wanted to cover the event, Dave balked, but he consented to a sports writer blogging on the affair. Her thoughts follow and you will understand why the honor was bestowed on Dave. I wish Dad could have been there.

Varsity Kansas - The Blog
(The inside scoop on Kansas high school sports.)
Dave Hawley: Not dead, But Honored
Thursday @ 3:33 p.m. by Joanna Chadwick

Dave Hawley has been at Collegiate for more than 30 years, won 36 state championships in boys and girls tennis, and now the new tennis complex will be named after him. There’s a dedication at 6 p.m. Friday, before the Hesston-Collegiate football game. The complex includes six new resurfaced existing tennis courts, a covered spectator area, restrooms and a concession area.

Hawley was less than thrilled that I even knew about the dedication
“I feel totally unworthy. I wish the honor was going to my kids,” he said. “… I’ve been lucky to have great kids and I have great kids now.”
Hawley is obviously a talented coach, and he’s such a sweet guy. He’s always so positive and his athletes genuinely like him.
Below is a story I wrote back in 2003:

In more than two decades as Wichita Collegiate’s boys and girls tennis coach, Dave Hawley has established the state’s most dominating tennis programs .
He’s won an astounding 31 Class 3-2-1A titles and had streaks of 13 consecutive titles with the girls, 12 with the boys. Only Kapaun Mount Carmel’s 11 girls title comes close to rivaling that success.
Hawley - boys coach for 26 years, girls for 22 - enjoys that success. He takes pleasure in churning out champions, 25 in doubles, 24 in singles. And he’s excited about the new challenge facing the Spartans, who moved up to Class 4A this season. The 4A meet begins today in Pratt.

But Hawley, who turns 51 on Monday, has another not-so-secret passion - teaching. “I want them to learn every time we go on the court and are in practice,” he said. Winning is not everything. If it were, he wouldn’t keep 30 players in his program, sometimes sending four full teams to play on the same day. Nor would he keep those players who will never win a league, regional or state title.

Hawley’s emphasis on teaching the game regardless of skill is a primary reason so many students participate. “He has an ability to make all his players feel a part of the team, through his practice techniques ,” Collegiate athletic director Mike Gehrer said. “There are kids who love to go to tennis practice because of the atmosphere he creates. He has this uncanny ability of spending the same amount of time with each kid.”

Collegiate does have those players who benefit from private lessons. Hawley knows that places such as Crestview Country Club and Genesis Health Club have helped his players and contributed to the Spartans’ success. But of Collegiate’s 30 players, Hawley said only six have played tennis since a young age and also receive private lessons. Collegiate senior Kate McCarren didn’t have private lessons when she first started playing as a sophomore. She’s never won a state title, qualified for state or won an MCAA league match. Yet for three years she practiced every day, worked hard, competed. Hawley is the reason. “There are a lot of players who are really good, but there’s a lot more at my level. Mr. Hawley will focus on everyone and notice everyone,” she said. “Even if you don’t start off awesome, it’s still important to him that everyone improves.”

Non-tennis players might shy away from trying tennis at Collegiate, scared off by the sheer success of the program. Hawley knows that’s a possibility; but he said that if any student were to wander out to the tennis courts, they’d be intrigued. “We want the kid who won’t play in the state tournament, who won’t be a four-year regional qualifier,” he said. “But after high school and into their adult life, (tennis) is something they can do and have fun with.” He considers it a life-long activity, something he still plays with his three children, including Ben, a senior who has won three doubles titles.

Hawley nurtures the love of tennis in children as young as 4 in his summer programs, extending it to his high school teams. “We try to foster an atmosphere where you can pick the level,” he said. “You want to be social? Great. Or compete but not worry about being in the top six? Great. But if you want to be part of regionals, we will help you. We want all those levels in our program.”

Senior Lael O’Shaughnessy wants the state title. And she knows Hawley will teach her what she needs to know to reach that goal. “He knows we’ve had different teachers and different ways of doing things,” said O’Shaughnessy, who qualified for state in doubles with her sister, Kate. “He teaches about fighting and aggression . . . It’s more about attitude than about technique, and it’s made a huge difference with me.”

The teaching never ends, either. After such dominance in 3-2-1A, Collegiate now faces a new level in 4A. Hawley’s not worried. The teaching will pay off. “I hope they do it on their own, what they’ve been taught. When nobody’s looking, I hope that they choose the right path, the right strategy. That’s what they did (in regionals). It was the highlight of the day when I saw (Collegiate players) using the strategy we talked about in practice, but we hadn’t talked about it on match day. That’s the greatest example of lessons learned.”

Collegiate’s winning ways
Wichita Collegiate has won 16 girls and 15 boys tennis titles in Class 3-2-1A under coach Dave Hawley. The girls won 13 straight, while the boys won 12 straight. Collegiate is in Class 4A this year.
Girls (16) -1986-87-88-89-90-91-92-93-94-95-96-97-98-2000-01-02
Boys (15) -1986-88-89-91-92-93-94-95-96-97-98-99-2000-01-02

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