San Dieguito tennis coach wins Coach of the Year award

Joe Tomasi, the varsity tennis coach at San Dieguito Academy, will be honored in June as a Southern California Boys Tennis Coach of the Year.

Tomasi was chosen by the California Coaches Association as a top tennis coach in the San Diego region.

He was honored with a similar award for girls tennis in 2005.

“I have bookends of this award now,” he said. “I’m the type of person where I don’t expect to really win stuff like this. I love what I do, and this is all because of the kids and what they do. I’m being rewarded because of their success.”

Last year’s season – which started with the opening of a new tennis facility at SDA in October 2015 – included the first championship win for the team in more than 20 years.

The SDA boys squad, seeded fourth, won four straight playoff matches last spring to take the SDS Division II title. For that performance, the Mustangs’ first team championship since 1993, Tomasi was named the section’s Coach of the Year.

In the championship contest against San Diego High, SDA won the first 11 matches to clinch the title just one hour into the outing.

Tomasi is hopeful for a similar season this year.

“I told [the boys], if you guys get your minds straight, you have the opportunity to do this again but in a different division, which would be pretty incredible,” he said.

So far, the team is where Tomasi “expected” them to be, beating certain teams but also falling short to an elite group of teams.

Deb Abrahamson, junior varsity boys’ tennis coach and teacher at San Dieguito, said Tomasi has a “known presence in the CIF San Diego section.”

She said he’ll try to make the players as comfortable as possible, citing a recent match against a player in a wheelchair.

To prepare the team for that match, Tomasi brought in a wheelchair-bound friend and tennis player to play tennis against the boys.

“The kids were intimidated about playing against someone in a wheelchair because they didn’t want to hit him,” Abrahamson said. “When that player got brought in, the kids got to see how the wheelchair maneuvered, so they weren’t intimidated or scared anymore [for the match]. ... Joe has a reputation, as well as knowledge and expertise when it comes to youth tennis.”

A ceremony, where Tomasi and other coaches will be honored, will be held June 17 in Sacramento.

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