Kudos to O'Quinn

By Matt Hill
Star Staff
mhill@starhq.com

   I did something on Thursday morning in Memphis that a sportswriter is never supposed to do. As a matter of fact, it's almost considered an unpardonable sin in our profession.
   I lost my objectivity.
   During Elizabethton High Tennis standouts Amanda Pike and Liz Dove's Class A/AA state championship match, I found myself hoping they would win.
   Now I wasn't cheering or anything, I would never do that. But I was hoping they would bring home a state championship back to Elizabethton.
   I wanted it for them, because I know how hard they worked and how they handled themselves with so much class.
   I wanted it for our community, because state championships are few and far between in our area.
   But there was another reason I wanted them to win.
   I wanted it for Elizabethton High tennis coach Danny O'Quinn.
   O'Quinn has done so much for the sport of tennis in our area. Before he showed up, coaching the Elizabethton High School tennis team was just a chance to earn a little extra cash.
   But O'Quinn has done so much more than just drive a bus. He's helped make tennis one of the elite minor sports at Elizabethton High School.
   O'Quinn has shown a commitment to making this sport into one people from Elizabethton will enjoy. Last summer, Elizabethton High School held its first tennis camp in years.
   Practices for the Elizabethton High tennis team are now more structured than in years past, and it seems like his dedication has rubbed off on his players.
   Last year, the Elizabethton girls team made the state tournament for the first time as a team. Just a few days ago, Amanda Pike and Liz Dove played for a state doubles championship.
   The boys have also had their share of shining moments. David Reece and Weston Peters won a District Doubles Championship last year.
   But the thing that impresses me most about O'Quinn is his commitment to tennis in Elizabethton. There was one time in the mid-to-late 1990's that Elizabethton High School had four tennis coaches in four years.
   O'Quinn said in an interview last year that he would be here until they told him to leave.
   O'Quinn also has the respect of his players, and is fair to everybody. During the matches, you will see him walking around trying to check up on all his players.
   O'Quinn cares about the No. 6 as much as he cares about the No. 1. He realizes that you win your matches by having your lower players get victories.
   But O'Quinn has definitely left an impression on one of the best players ever to play at Elizabethton High School. After the semifinal win on Wednesday, Dove praised her coach.
   Now O' Quinn didn't teach Dove her slice shot or her beautiful forehand, but he gave her the most support and encouragement he could give.
   I hope people like EHS Athletic Director Larry Alderson, Elizabethton High principal Ed Alexander and City Schools Superintendent Judy Blevins support O'Quinn like his players do. I'm sure these people are proud of the job that he's done and wants him to be here for years to come.
   O'Quinn also has the support of the parents at EHS, something that some of the coaches in years past didn't have.
   Dove and Pike came up just short in that final, but gave it a very valiant effort.
   I hate it for them because of all their hard work and dedication.
   But I also hate it for Coach O'Quinn, because he deserves a state championship more than any coach I know.
   And forgive me for not being objective.