The 2021 Girls’ High School Tennis season on Long Island was a unique one, and presented more challenges to coaches and players than in previous years. One coach who rose above these challenges was Michael Hovanec of West Hempstead, the Long Island Tennis Magazine Nassau County Coach of the Year.
“Mike’s dedication and commitment to growing his program and the sport of tennis, while at the same time emphasizing sportsmanship and character, is a model for all,” said Shai Fisher, Nassau County’s Girls’ Tennis Coordinator. “Additionally, Mike continuously puts his student-athletes first, always trying to put them in the best position to success on and off the court.”
Long Island Tennis Magazine spoke with Hovanec about this season and his team:
What was the hardest part of coaching in the pandemic?
The hardest part about coaching this season was having less players come out for the team with the pandemic going on. This made practices different from the past and we had to go play matches shorthanded. The team handled it all in a positive way. They also did a wonderful job following the safety protocols and made it easy on my part.
Were there any special moments this season that stand-out?
There was a moment the first week of the season when we were practicing and it started to snow. We all just started laughing because the typical season usually begins in late August and here we are in March getting snowed on.
What was your favorite part of coaching this year’s team?
I feel so thankful just having the opportunity to coach this year’s team with all the question marks that were going on with the pandemic. Every player on the team was respectful and hardworking. It was a pleasure being able to get out on the courts and work with such a nice group that all have bright futures ahead.
What does it mean to you to be honored with the Coach of the Year Award?
It feels great winning this award. There are so many excellent tennis coaches in Nassau County and I would be happy even being considered for it. Thanks to everyone that thought I was deserving of this award.