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Long-time tennis coach’s career a smash hit – Cross Timbers Gazette | Denton County South | mound of flowers

Kelly Langdon’s journey to becoming one of Texas State’s most decorated tennis coaches began as a stroke of luck, and he says he didn’t initially seek the coaching job of Marcus High School in Flower Mound.

“I was coaching one of Marcus’ players privately and his mother, who happened to be the president of the recall club, asked me if I had any interest in coaching the team,” Langdon said. “I thought it would be fun, and I had coached at a private school earlier in my career, but I didn’t really think about it.

“In the summer of 2001, out of the blue, I got a call from Marcus’ athletic coordinator asking if I’d be interested in coaching the team. I had an interview two days later and was offered the job. I really thought I would only do it for a few years.

Twenty-one years later, the five-time United States Professional Tennis Association Coach of the Year for Texas is still around and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Langdon will receive the prestigious Lloyd Sessions Educational Merit Award later this month in Fort Worth.

The award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the sport of tennis and who also demonstrates exceptional ability at a professional level in building stronger tennis at all skill levels.

Marcus High School Tennis Coach Kelly Langdon (Photo by Lynn Seeden / Seeden Photography)

“I’ve always enjoyed trying to help players achieve their goals in tennis, whether they’re beginners or ranked players, adults or juniors,” Langdon said. “I was lucky enough to get an assistant pro position at the age of 19, working with very good tennis professionals from whom I learned so much, both technically and tactically. I was 21 years old and worked with several top juniors in Texas, as well as nationally ranked players in the United States and Mexico.

A former player, Preethi Kasilingam, a four-time first-team all-district selection in high school who also finished third in the state in the mixed doubles competition in 2014, said Langdon’s impact on his life is immeasurable.

“Coach really helped me with my analytical skills on the pitch,” Kasilingam said. “I would say he’s a great strategist, and that’s something I brought with me to college tennis. As a person, Coach has been like another dad to me. He’s always watched over me and watched over me over the years.

“He is generous and sincere when it comes to giving back to the community. He helped me a lot with my confidence as a player and always told me that I could compete with anyone on the pitch. It was actually something I missed in college.

Langdon, 54, who was eight-time District Coach of the Year, grew up enjoying the intensity and determination of players such as Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.

Stylistically, the Grapevine native has always enjoyed watching Andre Agassi.

It was also the era of Tony Dorsett, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, however, and Langdon said he also loved football and basketball.

But when it came time to choose, there was always something special about tennis for him.

“Tennis appeals to me because there’s no one else to blame or deserve a match for,” Langdon said. “You alone are fighting with another person. There is no time limit like in many sports, so there is always a chance to come back. Moreover, tennis is a wonderful combination of intelligence, athleticism and determination.

The former Wilson/Texas Tennis Coaches Association Coach of the Year said that despite the success he has enjoyed throughout his career and the passion he has for the sport, it is not without challenges.

“As the game changes, whether through racquet technology, styles of play, improved fitness or hitting technique, it can be difficult to ensure that you follow and teach your students the latest and most productive lessons,” Langdon said. “Plus the long and often weird hours of being a pro/coach are just plain demanding.

“Finding time for yourself and your family can be difficult. Fortunately, many of those long days and weekends were spent with my son Sebastian. Nothing better than having your son with you at work.

Sebastian Langdon, who graduated from Marcus High School in 2015 and was the other half of the mixed doubles team that finished third at the state in 2014, then competed at Abilene Christian University.

“My dad has coached me all my life since I was three years old and still today whenever I play the occasional tournament,” Sebastian said.

“Just a few weekends ago I learned a lesson from him because I needed help fixing my serve. I feel very lucky to have had my dad as my coach during my career at middle school and high school, not just because he was my dad, but because he’s one of the best coaches in the world and it was a special time.

Langdon, who also received the Wilson/TTCA Jim Longbotham Award for Leadership, said the hardest part of high school tennis coaching can feel a little strange.

“Tennis being an individual sport, creating a sense of teamwork is always a challenge,” Langdon said. “Players play tournaments on weekends and their results only affect them. But in high school tennis, every individual match counts for a team win. Getting players to accept that others are counting on them to always do their best is an ongoing process, year after year.

Angel Martinez, a former tennis coach at Texas Wesleyan University, has witnessed this process many times.

A former non-conference rival, Martinez said Langdon deserves a lot of credit for building the Marauders’ tennis program into a perennial state powerhouse.

“When he came to Marcus, he not only established stability, he built it into a state-ranked program,” Martinez said. “They have become one of the best programs in the state.”

Langdon, who said he would continue coaching as long as he was “physically able”, said the Lloyd Sessions Educational Merit Award meant a lot to him.

“I’m not going to lie, I was very excited when I learned of my selection for the award,” Langdon said. “It was created in 1973 and is one of the most prestigious prizes of the moment. When I look at the names on the list of recipients, they are all coaches and professionals that I respect and admire as a junior and early in my career.

“Furthermore, as with any other individual award, it provides an opportunity to thank all of the many entities it takes to make the award possible – ISD Lewisville and its management, Marcus High School and its management, parents , the municipalities, the TNT team, my family, the Lord, and of course all the countless players over 35 years old.