Honomichl serves up another win
Baldwin High School girl's tennis coach Ginny Honomichl has won another award for her efforts on the tennis court, but no one will hear her bragging about it.
"I finally outlived all of my peers as a coach," joked Honomichl, who was recently named the 1999 Overall Girls Coach of the Year in tennis. "There are a lot of great coaches out there maybe they feel sorry for me."
Longevity may have been a part of the reason for the award. She has coached tennis for 30 years, the first 16 in Russell, and the last 14 in Baldwin. Success has accompanied the years of hard work. Honomichl has coached five state champions and has had at least one player qualify for state in 28 of those 30 years.
The past season the girl's team finished second in Class 4A with Natalie Moreau and Holly Oakleaf winning the doubles competition and Andrea Irick finishing sixth in the individual competition.
"They could have just as easily given the award to the first place coach in 4A," said Honomichl. "I think part of the reason I got the award is that they recognized the work I have done on the state and national level to help other coaches."
She has been on the Board for the Kansas State High School Activities Association, along with being involved with the Kansas Coaches Association and the National Federation Coaches Association.
"She is great because she knows what she is talking about and she can also demonstrate it," said Emily Black, who, along with fellow graduating seniors Crystal Tutschulte, Irick and Moreau, will continue their tennis careers in college. "She always has her act together."
When talking about coaching the team, Honomichl said the most important thing is that the girls have fun, but it is also important that they learn to play the game.
"Tennis is a strange sport in the fact that somebody scores on every serve," she said. "We try to teach them to get in the mental mindset to choose the best option that will give them the best chance to score."
When asked about highlights of her career, Honomichl said that being able to coach her daughter was the biggest thing for her. She also said seeing the commitment of the athletes every year is also rewarding.
"Sometimes tennis is the only athletic event that a girl might do in high school. It is just as important for them to do well playing No. 18 singles on junior varsity as it is to be number one on varsity," said Honomichl.
Honomichl has also earned Class 4A Coach of the Year honors three times while at Baldwin, in '88 as the boy's coach and in '89 and '92 for the girls.
"We've been able to build a tradition," she said. "Anyone that competes against us knows that they will face a quality team."
The team has had many leaders throughout the 14 years that Honomichl has been coach. She gives credit to the Hoffman sisters for helping build and continuing the tradition.
"Candy, Holly and Heidi were instrumental in setting the tone to make us winners," she said. "Those girls won a lot of matches for Baldwin tennis."
When asked about next year's team, Honomichl is realistic, but hopeful. "We will be rebuilding after losing a solid senior class. But I'm sure we'll still have fun and do well."
There will be two ceremonies on Aug. 3 in Topeka at which Honomichl will be recognized. In the afternoon she will be recognized at the annual Kansas Coaches School, and that evening she will be honored at a Kansas Tennis Coaches banquet.
"It will be a humbling experience to receive the award in front of my peers," said Honomichl. "I just consider myself lucky to receive such an honor, and I just hope I can represent all of those who didn't win it this year."
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