Oct. 8, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis women's tennis head coach Bill Maze visited Dewey Elementary school to help launch a new character education program for students in grades K-6 based on John Wooden's Pyramid of Success.
In an assembly organized by Peanut Louie Harper, a former top professional tennis player who runs Harper for Kids (HFK) with her husband Tim, the couple, and Maze, introduced life skills to an enthusiastic audience through Coach Wooden's children's book, "Inches and Miles: The Journey to Success."
Maze, a three-time All-American at Stanford, also shared with those in attendance how he felt when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association bestowed the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award to him.
The ITA's longest-running award is presented on an annual basis to a Division I men's player who displays sportsmanship, character, excellence in academics and outstanding tennis accomplishments. The award was established in 1969 in memory of Rafael Osuna, who was killed in a plane accident at the age of 30. Considered by many as one of the all-time great collegiate tennis players, Osuna won three NCAA doubles titles (1961-63) in addition to the 1962 NCAA singles title.
Able to provide a perspective as both a student-athlete, and a head coach, Maze educated students about the importance of sportsmanship through firsthand events and experiences.
Between having his student-athletes work hard to the limits of their potential, possessing a great attitude, displaying sportsmanship on the courts and losing a match, or not playing by the rules and doing whatever it took to win, Maze emphatically stated that, "I'd much rather have the first scenario because it is absolutely important to try your best, have a great attitude and to be a good sport."
Coach Maze also emphasized how critical enthusiasm, a positive attitude and teamwork are when faced with an obstacle or challenge.
"Whenever any of my players are struggling with something I tell them to ask for help. Asking for help from teammates, coaches, teachers or other resources is one of the key things in life. Trying to do anything on your own is a tough way to succeed," said Maze.
By complementing his playing and coaching experience, with the 14 blocks that comprise the Pyramid of Success in Wooden's book, Maze, P. Harper and T. Harper were able teach students how to become a more positive and productive person.
Through HFK's partnership with the United States Tennis Association, Dewey Elementary now sports three new 36-foot QuickStart tennis courts for kids to learn how to play the sport, and further reinforce the lessons learned throughout this presentation.
Later this fall, Maze and his team will return to Dewey Elementary to conduct a tennis clinic and follow-up assembly.