Tennis coach Sullivan honored
DHS team leader selected as Kansas 4A Coach of the Year
De Soto girls tennis coach Michael Sullivan has always believed in sharing the wealth.
That's why when he was selected as the Kansas 4A Coach of the Year, it came as no surprise that Sullivan quickly discussed the roles his players and Wildcat assistant coach Doug Opdycke played in the program's success.
"It's a great honor," Sullivan said. "It means a lot to receive an award like this. But a lot of the credit has to go to my players and Coach Opdycke. He's more like a co-head coach to me. I don't really see him as an assistant coach.
"Then again, the coaches of any sport can only do so much. The players do the work on the court."
Opdycke, who doubles as the boys tennis coach in the spring, accepted the compliments Sullivan paid him then turned the table back on Sullivan.
"That's not true," Opdycke said. "He definitely knows more than I do. We do get along very well. When one of us needs an idea the other always seems to come up with one. I'm at ease with our relationship. I really enjoy working with Michael."
Sullivan received the award at the Kansas Tennis Coaches Clinic and the eighth annual Hall of Fame Banquet put on by the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association last Saturday in Wichita.
The coaches clinic kicked off the day's events and ran from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Speakers at the event were Blue Valley Northwest coach Ted Fabiano and Indian Creek and Bally Racquet Club Regional Manager Ajay Pant.
The Hall of Fame Banquet started at 5:30 p.m. and inducted former Greensburg High School tennis coach Gary Goodheart and former Baldwin High School coach Larry Colson as the newest members.
Fellow 4A girls nominee Dave Hawley, of Wichita Collegiate, was named the overall Girls Coach of the Year. That award represents all six classifications. Colby's Mike Fortkamp was also placed on the 4A girls ballot as well.
Stan Boggs, who is the tennis chairman of the Kansas Coaches Association, said coaches across the state nominated other coaches and then ballots were sent to all coaches in November. Coaches winning state championships were automatic nominees in their classifications, Boggs said. Then two or three other names are added to the ballot, which can also include a write-in line.
"I heard coaches say that he did a nice job leading his team," Boggs said. "His teams are always competitive and represent the school very well. He seems to be a very good young man."
Opdycke said there was no way he was going to miss the award ceremony.
"I owed it to Mike to be there," he said. "I was just glad I was able to get there in time."
For Sullivan, the banquet was a great way to end the day's festivities.
"It was really neat to see them (inductees)," Sullivan said. "They were surrounded by a lot of family. I never met them or coached against them, but it was just neat to see them and hear them talk. I found myself wondering if my career would end like that when I'm 65."