Baldwin coach honored by U.S. Tennis Association
Dave Hayden, a 1976 Baldwin High School graduate, returned to his alma mater five years ago to take over as head coach of both the boys' and girls' varsity tennis teams.
In addition to coaching, Hayden's goal was to begin rebuilding the programs through increased community involvement and awareness of tennis in the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.
His efforts have included introducing annual summer tennis clinics, developing middle school players and hosting several United States Tennis Association youth tournaments.
It's all part of Hayden's mission to improve Baldwin High School tennis, as the teams have struggled to make it into the WPIAL playoffs in recent years.
Hayden's work to grow tennis in Baldwin has not gone unnoticed by the local chapter of the USTA, which recently presented him with the “2013 High School Coach of the Year” award.
Hayden, who lives in Upper St. Clair and runs his own executive recruiting company, received the award April 6 at a luncheon held at Oxford Athletic Club in Wexford.
“I was excited,” Hayden said. “It was recognition of the program and what we're trying to build here. The administration and school district support has been tremendous.”
Hayden is not new to USTA accolades. In 2011, he was recognized as “Tournament Director of the Year.”
But Hayden also is not one to rest on his laurels. He already is planning the next big tennis event for the area.
Baldwin will host a “USTA Play Day” from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Baldwin tennis courts. According to the USTA website, play days are designed to introduce youngsters to tennis competition in a low-pressure setting.
Hayden anticipates plenty of fun for the entire family at the Baldwin play day.
“It's a family event. Parents who play and want to get their kids involved in the game should come out,” he said. ”We'll have a radar gun (at the event) to use for a ‘fastest serve' contest.”
The Baldwin play day is open to anyone interested in participating; it is not restricted to Baldwin-Whitehall residents.
“New players (also) are welcome,” Hayden said.
Summer clinics at the Baldwin tennis courts will run June 9 to Aug 10. Nine-week sessions are available for all skill levels for students in kindergarten through high school.
Hayden will be assisted by former Division I tennis player Anna Volkova at the clinics.
Although he did not compete in tennis as a student at Baldwin, Hayden has been a certified teaching professional for more than 30 years.
“I got a late start in tennis,” he said.
For more details about the Baldwin play day or summer tennis clinics, e-mail Hayden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Goga is a freelance writer.