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home : sports / outdoors : sports/outdoors Thursday, August 17, 2017

12/16/2016 2:51:00 PM Email this articlePrint this article 
St. Paul Harding Coach Koua Yang Honored At USTA Northern Banquet

By Lisa Mushett

Koua Yang, of St. Paul, was named to the United States Tennis Association (USTA) No-Cut All-Star Team Award which recognizes 10 exceptional middle and high school coaches throughout the nation who implement a "no-cut" policy which welcomes all interested students to be a part of their school's tennis team. Yang was honored at the USTA Northern Annual Awards Banquet November 18 at Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.

Yang began coaching right out of college in 1999. He has led the no-cut tennis program at Harding High School in St. Paul the last 11 years, developing the program from an annual number of 20 players to more than 90 and sustaining that number. The team has won nine boys tennis conference championships and five girls conference championships.

He was the 2012 winner of the USTA Northern Wolfenson/Ratner Community Service Award given to the person for his or her outstanding fieldwork in recreational tennis. It is also awarded for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs through community centers, schools, parks and Community Tennis Associations.

Yang is also the coordinator for the St. Paul Urban Tennis Program and a member of its Board of Directors. In the winter, he volunteers his time, offering free tennis lessons to high school players in St. Paul. He works as a Jr. Team Tennis coach in the summer, runs a summer tennis tournament and serves as a consultant for growing tennis within the Asian community.

His contributions go beyond the basic expectations of a coach as he finds scholarships, equipment and opportunities so kids can play tennis. He also serves as a mentor supporting kids and their families, both on and off the court, including making personal phone calls to parents explaining why tennis is important to their child's future aspirations.

Also this year, he ran his first marathon and was one of 11 finalists for the Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.

"Just as we have an achievement gap in education, there is an opportunity gap for many kids in the urban setting," Yang said. "Most of these kids are on free or reduced lunch and their parents have limited resources. It is then our duty as educators, coaches and the community to give them more opportunities to succeed. You never know if you will have the next president, Serena Williams or Roger Federer in your midst. You just have to give them a chance to blossom not just as an athlete, but as young people."

ABOUT USTA NORTHERN: USTA Northern, a 501 (c) 3 is based in Bloomington, Minnesota, is one of 17 sections that make up the United States Tennis Association and covers Minnesota, North and South Dakota and Northwestern Wisconsin. The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the United States and is a not-for-profit organization with more than 760,000 members. It owns and operates the US Open and, in 2004, launched the US Open Series which links 11 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup and the Olympic and Paralympics Games. It invests 100% of its proceeds to promote and develop the growth of tennis, from the grassroots to the professional levels. For more information on USTA Northern, log on to www.northern.usta.com.




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