Seal of excellence

Coach secures 700 wins


Photo by: Nicole Konopelko

Head coach John Seal conferences with junior Sophia Shope after a match. Seal has coached Shope for her sophomore and junior years and also earned over 700 wins in his coaching career. “He’s made me more confident in my ability to play and really encourages me to try my hardest ,” Shope said. “[He] reminds me not to be hard on myself when I mess up.”

Story by Katie Painter, Designer/Reporter

Sophomore Emily McGown walked off the courts with her doubles partner after a hard fought victory and recieved some exciting news.

At a home tennis tournament on September 20, head coach John Seal reached the 700th win of his coaching career.

“It was pretty great because it was one of our home tournaments,” Sophomore, Emily McGown said. “I was pretty stressed and I think Coach Seal was too, but everyone did great and was very happy for him.”

McGown said she was proud to be on the team when Seal reached this achievement.

“Not every player can say that they played in the tournament when that milestone was achieved,” McGown said.

According to Seal, few reach this point in their coaching careers.

“To get to that level, you have to have longevity, but you also have to have a program built to where it is going to continually progress,” Seal said. “We happen to have that with our programs here. We always have.”

Senior Carter Uttley, has played with Seal for nearly two years on the boys team.

“It’s awesome to have someone with that [achievement] under their belt as a coach,” Uttley said. “He’s not only [been] a pro player in the past, but now he’s had over 700 wins. To have someone like that mentoring you is a great opportunity.”

To get to that level, you have to have longevity, but you also have to have a program built to where it is going to continually progress. We happen to have that with our programs here. We always have.

— Coach Seal

Seal has been head coach at PHS for 12 years, and coaching for 30 years. He became a coach because of his previous personal involvement in tennis.

“[I decided to become a coach] because it’s the sport that I excel at. I wanted to give back to it and coaching is one way to do that,” Seal said. “I love it and I want to perpetuate it.”

Seal enjoys coaching newbies just as much as experienced players.

“It’s a hands-on thing. I can see myself how they developed,” Seal said. “I see them grow and do what they need to do. Those are things you enjoy when you can see what your work has done.”

McGown and her tennis partner, senior Kamryn Kelley, competed at regionals and lost in the third match after three sets. Senior Nicole Konopelko also played at regionals and qualified for state.

“I’m really proud of my girls team,” Seal said. “I don’t know why, but the way that they approach things, you can see that they’re getting it. I see that they want it. [Having a hard-working team] is hard to get.”

Each year, there are around 25 players on Seal’s teams.

“[Since I was a freshman], the tennis program has really flourished,” Uttley said. “He’s really grown the program.”

But 700 wins is not a stopping point for Seal.

“[My 700th win] is a milestone. It’s something that only one other person I know has done,” Seal said. “It’s a milestone, but I’m not done. My goal is to reach 1000.”