The Duncan Banner

Sports

June 17, 2014

Duncan tennis’ Aldridge remembered

DUNCAN — Funeral services for Duncan High School Hall of Fame member Gene Aldridge will be held 10 a.m. Wednesday at First Christian Church. Aldridge died from leukemia Saturday morning at the age of 80.

“Gene-Gene-the tennis machine” as his players affectionately referred to him, took over the Duncan Middle School tennis program in 1999.

High school girls tennis coach Phil Barnes said his competitiveness and desire helped turn Duncan tennis into the powerhouse program it is today. Aldridge was more of a father figure and got everything out of the middle-school kids he worked with by making the game fun, Barnes said.

“He was just such a good mentor to everybody,” Barnes said. “We couldn’t have accomplished what we accomplished without him.”

Before he became the coach, Barnes said Aldridge did his best to support the program. When he was hired, he initially wasn’t paid but he didn’t do anything halfhearted.

Samantha Akers (Street) graduated in 2009. As one of Aldridge’s students she said his passion for the sport showed.

“He had tennis drills going all year long,” Akers said. “He cared about the team and how we did. He took it very seriously. That’s just kind of how he was a tennis coach, and it paid off.”

Now girls tennis is one of Duncan High School’s premier sports, competing for the state championship every year. Athletic Director Burl White said Aldridge played a huge role in the recent accomplishments.

“He’s the foundation on which this tennis program has really done well the last 10-15 years,” White said. “We’re really going to miss him.”

In addition to being a knowledgeable tennis coach, White said Aldridge was just an overall good person. He brought joy to all the players he coached and made sure the kids had fun on the court.

“His sole goal was just to work with kids and help them,” White said. “We can not replace him.”

One of Aldridge’s best attributes was being able to teach kids the fundamentals of tennis even if they had never played the sport, White said.

Akers said this was part of how Aldridge operated. Even if a player didn’t know much about tennis, he wanted to teach them as long as they wanted to succeed on the court.

“It really weeded out the ones that were going to take it seriously and the ones that weren’t,” Akers said. “He wanted you to be focused, be driven and want to be good.”

At the same time, Aldridge was able to keep things in perspective. Barnes’ daughter, Melanie, who graduated from Duncan High School in 2010 and plays for Tarleton State, said that he talked about how family and school came before tennis.

It wasn’t the only life lesson that Aldridge gave her. Barnes said when she was playing in the state semifinal in seventh grade, Aldridge gave her another piece of advice she’d never forget.

“It was against a good girl, who I was not supposed to beat,” Barnes said. “He told me ‘It doesn’t matter how far you get down, you can always come back up.’ That is something I’ve always kept with me, and it’s helped me a lot.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • In the middle of it Demons return from camp energized

    Duncan volleyball returned to practice with a spring in its step Monday, despite not being on their own gym floor.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Defensive showcase Comanche’s defense strengthens

    Everyone around the Indian program (even one Outlaw) points out how far the softball team has come, but nothing is more evident then the improvement on defense.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rory McIlroy wins British Open for 3rd major

    Walking off the 18th green as the British Open champion, Rory McIlroy kept gazing at all the greats on golf's oldest trophy.

    On the claret jug, his name is etched in silver below Phil Mickelson.

    In the record book, he is listed behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the youngest to get three legs of the career Grand Slam.

    And over four days at Royal Liverpool, he had no equal.

    July 20, 2014

  • Watkins wins Watkins shines in Duncan tennis tournament

    Freshman Addie Watkins didn’t let playing older opponents deter her from winning the 16-year-old girls division at the Duncan First Bank Jr. Challenger Tournament Friday.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • McKelvey named Banner sports editor

    Assistant Sports Editor John McKelvey has been promoted to sports editor of The Duncan Banner.

    July 20, 2014

  • Budler Budler earns his PGA membership

    In just half the time he was allotted, Duncan Golf and Tennis Club Assistant Golf Professional Mark Budler achieved PGA membership status.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Junior clinic helps young players prepare for the Hoedebeck Tournament

    It wasn’t a coincidence that The Duncan Golf and Tennis Club held one of its summer junior clinics the week before the Hoedebeck tournament tees off — General Manager Mike Hansen wants to give his players all the help he can before the big day.

    July 20, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season

    Little news is truly made at the Southeastern Conference's media days, where players and coaches predict, insinuate and deflect in advance of this fall's college football season.
     

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Volleyball gets off to fast start in Missouri tournament

    On a big stage, there was no stage fright for Duncan volleyball, which had both of its six-player teams finish 5-3 in the first day of its summer tournament.

    July 18, 2014

  • Bringing a racket to Duncan

    A tournament that will take place at Duncan High School Friday has high school students eager to prove themselves against opponents from across the state of Oklahoma.

    July 18, 2014

Featured Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Poll

Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

     View Results