Falcons head coach Steve Amaro was recently honored by the United States Professional Tennis Association as the NorCal High School Coach of the Year. The award is based not only on success in league play and tournaments but skill in providing instruction to young athletes.
USPTA Regional Director Sandra Gostanian believes Amaro is a deserving recipient of the award. “It’s the quality of instruction that they give,” Gostanian said of the ideal candidate. “Not just how to hit a ball, but to be good sports. He’s very respected among his peers and his athletes and parents, like the kind of person that he is as a coach.”
Amaro, in his 12th year of coaching tennis at Freedom, was excited and honored that fellow USPTA members thought so highly of him. The coach will be fêted for this award at Stanford University on Feb. 12 as part of the USPTA Northern California Winter Convention Awards Banquet.
“I’ve been really blessed this year,” said Amaro, also the school’s athletic director. “This one, I think I really owe it a lot to the Freedom girls for winning the league championship.”
The Falcons, led by players such as singles ace Nicole Zanarini and doubles teammates Kristen Quesada and Madison Mills, beat out Liberty for the girls BVAL title. Freedom finished the regular season 13-7 overall and went 9-1 in league play. The only match-up the Falcons dropped was to rival Liberty in the tennis equivalent of the Bell Game.
“I remember starting the first day and thinking of the seven girls that we had lost as seniors – it was going to be quite a task,” Amaro said. “We have a banner up in the gym and it’s an exciting source of pride for all of our girls.”
The tennis award comes months after Amaro was honored as the Liberty Union High School District’s 2009-10 Teacher of the Year.