Alpena High School tennis coach Charlie Giordano was recently voted Region 14 Coach of the Year by the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association at a Division 2 boys tennis regional in Fenton.
The award was voted on by his peers, and recognizes his achievements and ten years of coaching. Giordano humbly received the award, but said it is not his coaching award, it's a community award.
"I love what I do. I love teaching and I love coaching," Giordano said. "This award was a huge surprise and I'm humbled by it. This is our award, it's a tennis community award."
Giordano said the award was a surprise, especially because Alpena competes in a tough conference. However, he said it's important to remind students that the best players are the hardest working ones.
This season, the Wildcats ended the season on a high note, after Alpena's top doubles team took second place at the regional, recording the highest finish for an Alpena doubles team in the last decade. Alpena also had a quarterfinalist and a semifinalist in singles competition.
"This is a team honor. It is really the boys hard work that got us here. I couldn't be happier with the recognition and I couldn't be more proud of the boys," Giordano said.
Giordano teaches seventh grade science at Thunder Bay Junior High, and has been a tennis coach since 2002 and has worked for APS for 15 years.
Alpena Athletic Director Tim Wedge, said Giordano teaches both skills and life lessons as a coach, and is committed to coaching character and athletic skills.
"Every coach wants players who excel in their sport. Charlie wants his players to be excellent people, on the court and in their lives. His team has nine scholar athletes. He walks the walk and is committed to coaching character in addition to skills," Wedge said.
Giordano said he fell in love with tennis when he played with one of his daughters, and coached all sports his three children played. He started coaching tennis ten years ago because he enjoys working with children.
"My goal is to teach these kids how to succeed in life, strengthen them, and teach them it's a mental game. It's a huge mental game, like a violent chess match. You have to figure out where your opponent is going to go and what they going to do next. It's takes a great mix of mental and physical strength," Giordano said.
According to Giordano, the varsity tennis team practices two hours every day during the season, unless it has a match, to quicken reaction times, along with the bodies and minds of the players. He said team practices typically include drills, developing strategies and conditioning to build up endurance.
"We usually pick out certain things that we want to work on as a team for a week. Our goal is to stay consistent and beat other teams with better shots. Every point is a win, but you're only as good as you're weakest player. We have a strong lineup," Giordano said.
Alpena High Principal Matt Poli said Giordano deserved the award and fits in well at the high school, creating a culture of excellence.
"It's great to see coach Giordano recognized by his peers at regionals, and at the core of his teaching," Superintendent Brent Holcomb said. "We're proud to see Charlie get this recognition, and proud to say he teaches at APS."