Special day for LaGrange tennis coach
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Kenny Moore is grateful that his wife Teresa had him wear a nicer shirt.
Moore, LaGrange High’s tennis coach since 1991, was asked to come to the Ann & Doc McCluskey Tennis Complex on Wednesday evening for a meeting related to the re-opening of the facility.
What Moore didn’t realize was that the “meeting” was all about him.
A group of people, including LaGrange tennis players from over the years, got together and purchased a gazebo to be placed next to one of the courts at the tennis center, and it will have a sign that states “In honor of Coach Kenny Moore LHS Tennis.”
Teresa encouraged her husband to put on a different shirt, and with a smile, Moore said “I’m glad I did.”
When Moore arrived at the tennis center, he said he “had no idea” what was about to happen.
“I knew we were opening the facility, and there were some things to talk about,” Moore said. “I’m just blown away.”
Dozens of people, including members of Moore’s family, were on hand for the occasion.
Mike Pauley, LaGrange’s athletics director, introduced his long-time friend and colleague.
“(Moore) has been the head coach since 1991,” Pauley said. “This year was the 30th season as our program’s head coach. Thirty seasons. Kenny is one of my best friends. In the coaching industry, to be some place, and manage and work and coach kids for 30 years, it’s incredible.”
Moore, who is a calculus teacher at LaGrange and was also a former football coach at the school, has enjoyed tremendous success as the head of the tennis program.
His teams have combined to win more than 20 region championships, 17 teams have made it at least as far as the state semifinals, and two LaGrange teams played for state championships.
Last year, Moore celebrated his 800th victory as LaGrange’s tennis coach.
“Anybody could have done what I’ve done,” Moore said. “The main thing I did was ride the bus, and decide where we’re going to eat after a match.”
Among those in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony were dozens of his former players, as well as his long-time assistant coach, David Traylor.
“It is so special,” Moore said. “They mean so much. I just can’t believe all of those people are here.”
Moore, in addition to the success he’s enjoyed as a coach, has also coordinated two major tennis tournaments.
One of them, the Granger Invitational, has developed into one of the state’s largest tournaments, and LaGrange also hosts a tournament on Jekyll Island each spring.
“For the past 26 years we’ve run that tournament at Jekyll Island after inheriting it,” Pauley said. “And we’ve run our Granger Invitational tournament for 29 years. And it is one of the largest tournaments in the Southeast. This year we would have had been the girls’ and boys’ teams 90 teams playing all over the place. It’s just incredible. (Moore’s) leadership transcends way beyond LaGrange.”
When the idea of purchasing a gazebo and placing it at the tennis center was first floated, Pauley said there were no problems finding people willing to chip in and help.
“When we started reaching out from the classes of 1991 all the way to the present, you can’t believe how easy it was for us to get the donations,” Pauley said. “There are a lot of people who love you.”