Thursday, June 7, 2012

Eyre Tennis Center Dedicated as Long-time Maharishi School Tennis Coaches Retire

The Eyre Tennis Center was dedicated, June 6, 2012, by Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment and Maharishi University of Management. The indoor tennis courts are located in the university's recreation center. Speaking at the dedication were former members of the school's tennis teams, appreciative parents, state tennis officials, Fairfield mayor Ed Malloy, and administrators from MSAE and MUM.

Recognizing 25 years of tennis coaching excellence, the dedication ceremony highlighted the achievements of Laurie and Lawrence Eyre. These achievements included for the girls' coach Laurie Eyre two "final fours" in state-level tennis tournaments and one singles state champion. For boys' coach Lawrence Eyre, achievements included 15 "final fours" and 16 state championships (7 singles, 5 doubles, and 4 team championships).

Lawrence Eyre's coaching achievements included being awarded in 2009 the United States Professional Tennis Association's (USPTA) High School Coach of the Year award. This recognition is awarded to only one high school coach per year, regardless of the school's size. (More information and video here.)

Coach Lawrence Eyre's achievements were quoted in the dedication handout:
  • "In 15 trips to the final four (a state record), including 8 consecutive final fours (ties state record), from 2005-2012, the Pioneers have now earned four state team championships (1991 1999, 2000, 2002), 7 state runner-up finishes (1992, 1997, 1998, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011), three third place finishes (2005, 2007, 2008), and now one fourth place finish [2012]."
  • "Following our 9-3 season this year--with two of our three losses to state champions Davenport Assumption (1-A) and Iowa City West (2-A)--our 25-year cumulative dual match record stands at 240-67."
  • "It has been a privilege to work with Maharishi School tennis players since 1988. Their commitment to continuous improvement has produced 16 state championships--7 singles, 5 doubles, 4 team--and 10 state runner-up finishes--1 singles, 2 doubles, and 7 team."
 Speakers at the dedication of the tennis center were from the local Fairfield community and from across the state of Iowa.
  • Early Maharishi School administrator Dennis Raimoni said that the Eyres in the classroom and on the tennis courts taught young people the important values of life--how to live life with integrity. He added that their teaching would extend those values through generations.
  • The Martlin family was prominent in the accolades. State champ Arjuna said that Lawrence Eyre exhibited and taught "amazing respect" for others and for their tennis opponents. "Respect defines who he is." Brother Luke added that that the coach "always carried himself with such dignity." Father Bob Martlin completed the family's comments by describing how Coach Eyre was to team members "not a dad but a parent."
  • Praising girls' coach Laurie Eyre, former player Avery Gibson said in a letter that the Eyres were "two of the school's most remarkable teachers" and then went on to specifically praise Laurie Eyre, stating that she "not once wavered in her support and encouragement" in all her matches, displaying "authentic commitment" to all her players.
  • Mehul Kar, 2007 graduate, who now has over 1,000 hours as a tennis instructor, stated that Mr. Eyre was "an excellent mentor on and off the court."
  • Alan Beste, Assistant Executive Director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association, came in person to the dedication to speak. He forwarded the remarks from a woman placed high in the state tennis organization who had said that Laurie Eyre was "always the professional" and that she had "unwavering confidence and support for her players." Of Lawrence Eyre, Beste said that he "always saw the big picture" in his support for Iowa tennis programs.
  • Craig Ihnen, Associate Director of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, stated in a letter that "excellence in tennis is Iowa is no accident," but was due to the influence of the Eyres. He said that their professional influence created "a professional difference" in other coaches in the way the Eyres "always wanted the best for kids in tennis in Iowa."
  • Mitch Gross, Iowa City West High School tennis coach, named Lawrence Eyre "the John Wooden of Iowa athletics."
  • Craig Pearson, MUM Executive Vice President, said that the Eyre tennis program provided balance to the school. "They win tennis championships" was a balance to all the school's academic achievements. He went on to praise the Eyres as teachers: "We have that wonderful legacy they leave of enlightenment and invincibility for the world."
  • Dr. Richard Beall, chief administrator of Maharishi School, praised the Eyres for teaching that "integrity trumps winning," that the pressures of players making line calls in competition was an opportunity for the Eyres to teach the players life-long lessons in personal integrity.
  • Mayor Ed Malloy of Fairfield concluded speakers' comments by saying that the Eyres' "accomplishments have been extraordinary." He finished by saying, "What you've really accomplished has been to build character."
The comments of many of the speakers echoed the comments of Coach Lawrence Eyre, spoken in a videotaped interview played at the dedication. "A well-rounded tennis experience leads to a well-rounded life experience." Eyre also commented on his coaching experience in the dedication's handout: "I am retiring with a deep sense of fulfillment, and with gratitude for the growth that 25 years of coaching high school tennis has brought me."

Mayor Ed Malloy then went on to "pop the cork" on a new can of tennis balls, and the Eyres played the first round of tennis on the newly dedicated courts.

Laurie Eyre will continue to work at Maharishi School as a mentor to new and continuing teachers.

Lawrence Eyre will leave Maharishi School to work for the International Association of Consciousness-Based Education, traveling the world to lecture and expand the number of  schools utilizing Consciousness-Based Education, where students and faculty practice the Transcendental Meditation program.

Head of School Dr. Richard Beall ended the dedication ceremony by saying, "The idea of giving you to the world is wonderful news."

Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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