Ask Chaminade Julienne tennis coach Jim Brooks how he’s doing and you’ll likely hear a familiar response: “It’s a great day for tennis.”
The longtime Eagles high school coach took the helm of the CJ boys team in 1998. In the 20 years that followed, many of those great days of tennis ended up as wins. Brooks recently tallied his 500th coaching victory.
“It’s definitely an endurance race,” Brooks said of his accomplishment. “And we’ve really been blessed with strong players over the years.”
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The boys district tournament is Thursday and Saturday at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason. The top four qualify for next week’s season-ending state tournaments also at the Lindner Center.
The CJ girls’ teams are 295-100 and the boys are 206-169 during his tenure. The Eagles have been named the Miami Valley Tennis Coaches Association Team of the Year 11 times – nine for the girls and twice for the boys under Brooks. The girls have also advanced to Ohio Tennis Coaches Association state team tournament semifinals five times.
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“His passion for tennis is evident every day as he inspires the entire community with his presence,” CJ athletic director Brian Reinhart said. “Jim truly embodies what CJ is all about as he cares for our students in every way and models what it means to be an Eagle.”
While the 500-win milestone is admittedly impressive, Brooks’ contributions extend far beyond the courts.
“He not only builds successful tennis teams, he builds a community grounded in the family spirit,” principal John Marshall said.
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Brooks has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of young players during his 40 seasons coaching. His impact continues to be felt by many, long afterward.
“Coach Brooks is probably the most positive thinking, enthusiastic, and dedicated person I’ve ever met,” 2007 graduate Conrad Klank said. “And, to this day, he claims that not one of his players has beaten him,” he said smiling.
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Brooks coached many siblings during his tenure, including the Buerschens – Emily (2008), Mollie (’10) and John (’11). Emily, who is now in medical school, has an even greater appreciation of Brooks’ impact now that she coaches tennis.
“He really is the teacher and coach that every kid deserves to have,” she said. “His greatest impact on me is how I treat myself and feel about myself – my confidence. He really inspires confidence in his players.”
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That’s music to the 66-year-old coach’s ears.
“My goal for these kids is for them to have a good experience, enjoy the game and, hopefully, play for the rest of their lives,” he said. “The wins are a bonus.”