TENNIS: Dobie's Moreno Named to USTA's National 'No-Cut' Team

TENNIS: Dobie's Moreno Named to USTA's National 'No-Cut' Team
Posted on 10/14/2014
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Dobie Coach Manuel Moreno Jr., flanked by members of his Longhorn tennis team, receives congratulations from USTA-Texas representative Cindy Benzon.

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Dobie High School head tennis coach Manuel Moreno Jr. has been named the recipient of one of 14 national coach of the year awards presented by the United States Tennis Association's No-Cut Starfish Award program.

The No-Cut Starfish Award recognizes high school coaches nationwide who implement a no-cut policy for their tennis teams.

As the No-Cut Starfish Award winner for USTA-Texas, Moreno was also named to the USTA National No-Cut All-Star Team, one of 14 sectional coaches selected. His Dobie team receives a $500 grant to purchase equipment.

“Coach Moreno has the passion of tennis and knows what it can do for kids,” said Cindy Benzon, the Houston area representative for USTA-Texas. 

“These coaches serve as positive role models and make a difference by spending the extra time and effort to ensure that thousands of young players experience the fun and fulfillment of playing tennis and participating in a school sport."

The No-Cut Starfish Award was first presented in 2006 to honor outstanding no-cut coaches that make a profound impact on young peoples’ lives by welcoming all interested students to be a part of their school’s tennis team. Since then, more than 4,000 tennis coaches nationwide have made a commitment to offering a no-cut policy. Some no-cut programs include more than 100 team members, as does Dobie's.

Candidates for the award are current coaches (not retired) who have implemented a No-Cut tennis team program, are currently registered with the USTA as a No-Cut coach and have been coaching for a minimum of five years.

Moreno, now in his 16th year at Dobie, coached 13 years at Galveston O’Connell High School and two at Clear Lake High School.

Moreno said he became an advocate of the No-Cut philosophy when he was head coach at Clear Lake.

“Before my time there, seniors weren’t allowed to participate in spring tennis if they weren’t one of the top players, and I always felt that was wrong,” Moreno said.

“We had one senior girl who I let play the No. 3 doubles in the regional team tennis semifinals, a chance she might have not gotten otherwise, and I’ll always cherish a ‘thank you’ card she gave me afterwards for giving her the opportunity to play.”

Moreno says that “thank you” message was a significant turning point in his coaching career.

“Those are the kind of kids I enjoy coaching, those diamonds in the rough,” he said. “It’s the true reward I get as a coach, seeing them develop not only as a player, but more importantly, a person."

This is the second major statewide accomplishment for Moreno, who also was named the Texas Tennis Coaches Association Class 5A “Coach of the Year” in 2005.

The 2014 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team

Kirk Comer – Page County High School, Shenandoah, Va.
Tim Donnelly – Park City High School, Park City, Utah
Thomas Krueger – Lincoln High School, Sioux Falls, S.D.
A.G. Longoria – Sage Hill High School, Newport Beach, Calif.
Mike Marriam – Mynderse Academy, Seneca Falls, N.Y.
Laurie Martin – Xavier College Prep, Phoenix
Bernie McGuire – The Hammond School, Columbia, S.C.
Manuel Moreno Jr. – Dobie High School, Houston
Mark Noel – Oak Ridge High School, Orlando, Fla.
Laurie Olafson – Chimacum High School, Chimacum, Wash. 
Mark Shahan – Antelope High School, Antelope, Calif.
JoAnne Stillmun – Jenkintown High School, Jenkintown, Pa.
Ben Tasich – Pinckney Community High School, Pinckney, Mich.
Rich Willis – Ellington High School, Ellington, Conn.