The Maharishi School has an uncanny ability to find replacements for the seemingly irreplaceable coaches and teachers who move or retire. I have seen remarkable teachers go only to be replaced by teachers who were equally remarkable. It is quite astonishing when you think about it.
But the one teacher and coach who really could not be replaced was Lawrence Eyre. He was a founding member of the faculty and the winner of the national tennis coach of the year award given by the USTA. He built the MSAE tennis program from the ground up, and won many memorable championships. But to my mind that was not what made him such a great coach - it was that he could take a below average team and make it a good team, a good team into a very good team, and a very good team into a great team. There were a couple of years when he made what was sure to be a mediocre team a very good team. This is the art of coaching at its very best, and all done with the kind of character and integrity every parent wants in a coach for their child.
So...How to replace him? There was only one person who could do it, that is obvious now. Steve Briggs was a champion player from his youth through his college years, a teacher and an author of high distinction. He had some coaching experience but nothing amounting to his predecessor’s resume. He did it because he asked Lawrence for help, used the best of what Lawrence contributed to the program, and then made the program his own. He has made the coaching tradition a little like that of Notre Dame - there will never be another Coach Eyre or another Knute Rockn, but there was an Ara Parseghian and there is a Steve Briggs.
Steve has also had help from his brother, DeArmand Briggs. DeArmand was one of the best players of his generation, he beat Jimmy Connors when he was twelve and won a national doubles title in college. He beat some of the best players of his generation in that tournament who went on to win majors on the pro circuit. But for a decision to become a Transcendental Meditation teacher he would have joined them in the pro ranks.
He now teaches group lessons to boys and girls ages 5-12, virtually none of whom has any idea the great player he once was and is. He teaches them with kindness, patience and an indispensable sense of humor. He also has been training teaching and coaching future tennis stars at MSAE for over 30 years.
These men deserve our admiration and gratitude for their inestimable contributions to the young people in our community.
by - Jim Turner