➜ Why she’s Coach of the Year: Following up on a 2021 season in which the Chargers placed second in the Class 1A state tournament as a team, Scaggs guided Centennial to another successful batch of results. The five-time boys’ tennis Coach of the Year helped the team to its second consecutive sectional championship. Brothers James Braun and Max Braun finished third in doubles at the 1A state tournament, helping Centennial finish eighth in the team standings.
➜ What got her into coaching is … my husband, actually. In 2013, he came home from playing tennis with friends, and he said, “I need you to do something.” I said, “What’s that?” He said, “I need you to apply for the girls’ coaching job (at Centennial).” I said, “I can’t coach.” He said, “Oh, yeah you can. It’s just organizing, getting it all together, and you’d be great at it.” So I interviewed with Brian Easter, and he said, “Is someone making you do this?” And I said, “Brian, I don’t think I’d do anything that I don’t want to do. I’m just trying to help you out for now, and when my daughter gets into the program, if she doesn’t want me to be here, I’ll leave.”
➜ Her most difficult thing to learn about coaching is … you can’t control the weather. You cannot control the player emotions, for the most part, but you can certainly give them some direction to keep their emotions intact. You can’t control how they feel about the program. You can just do your best to feel like everybody’s involved, and that you’re giving everybody the opportunities they deserve.
➜ The biggest piece of advice she’d offer to a new tennis coach is … make it about the kids. Make everyone feel included.
➜ Her favorite moment from this season was … how they all performed at Big 12 (Conference tournament). And even at sectionals, I’m proud of how they all performed. I will tell you that I’m proud, after James and Max lost that state semifinal match, that they bounced back.
➜ Her most challenging moment from this season was … when (James and Max) first came to me and said they wanted to play doubles. Everybody would’ve expected me to try for another big state title run, and I felt like it was important to give two kids an opportunity to play together — that were brothers, and this was the last hurrah. I wanted to be 100 percent sure they were committed to each other. Once that happened, everything fell into place as I gave everybody their opportunities.
➜ The athlete on this season’s team she had to coach the least is … Max. I’d actually say both of them (Max and James), but Max for sure. I couldn’t tell Max anything he doesn’t already know on the court about the game of tennis and about strategy. I can only just remind him to stay positive.
➜ The athlete on this season’s team who is the biggest class clown is … Tyler Luchinski. They always picked on him because he was a freshman and always said, “Tyler, you’re a freshman, go do this and go do that.” He always had a quick-witted response.
➜ The athlete on this season’s team who she feels is most outgoing is … Ben Kirby. They all kind of joke with each other when you get a group of them together, but individually Ben’s probably most outgoing. I couldn’t be here for the first three days of practice, and Ben kind of came out and organized. He took on a bit of a leadership role.
➜ The athlete on this season’s team who she feels is most reserved but will speak up when necessary is… Jason Kim. I even sometimes will give him, “That was pretty good.”
➜ The athlete on this season’s team she’d want to serve as acting coach if necessary is … James Braun. I would feel most comfortable as far as what he’s telling the kids. I would trust him in a heartbeat.
Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The News-Gazette. He can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.