USPTA Awards Lawrence Eyre National High School Coach of the Year
Marco Island, Florida: Thursday, September 24, 2009: The United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA), the world's oldest and largest association of tennis-teaching professionals, honored Lawrence Eyre, Maharishi School Tennis Coach, with the National High School Coach of the Year Award at their World Conference. This prestigious award is given to one coach from all the high schools in the United States irrespective of school size. Lawrence Eyre has been a certified Professional 1 member of the USPTA since 1992. The Maharishi School is a small private school, K-12, located in the heart of the Midwest in Fairfield, Iowa.
Mr. Eyre was among the founding faculty of Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment Upper School in 1981. Since 1995 he has served as the chairman of the school’s Social Studies department. He started the Pioneers tennis team in 1988 and since then has led them to the Final Four in the Iowa team tourney 12 times. In his 22 seasons, his players have earned 16 state championships in singles, doubles and team tennis. In 1999 and 2000, under Mr. Eyre’s guidance, the Maharishi School boys’ team achieved the unprecedented: they captured consecutive “triple crowns” by winning the singles, doubles and team tennis titles at the Iowa I-A state championships. Thanks to Coach Eyre, Maharishi School’s tennis program ranks as one of the most consistent and respected in Iowa.
“I am honored to receive this award on behalf of Maharishi School,” said Mr. Eyre. “Maharishi School tennis players follow a new athletic paradigm,” Coach Eyre explained. “Instead of 'no pain, no gain', our motto is ‘train without strain.’ We invest in rest for tennis success.” Mr. Eyre attributes his players’ achievements to their group practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique, which creates a profound experience of ‘restful alertness.’ This serves as a foundation for their dynamic activity and gives them a competitive edge, he says. “Peak experience is the basis of peak performance—our athletes play in the ‘zone’ because they live there."
The school claims TM has been a positive force for all of its teams, but none more than tennis. Eyre says TM helps his players learn how to allow unforced errors to "wash over" them and move on to the next point without getting upset or distracted. "Seventy-five percent of a tennis match is time between points, so whoever recovers better and can return to a steady state is going to play better," he said.
Mr. Eyre has been featured in Sports Illustrated's “Faces in the Crowd” section and in Tennis magazine. His numerous awards include the 2000 Iowa Tennis Association Coach of the Year award and the 2007 Central Sectional Coach of the Year award from the National Federation of State High School Associations. The Central section includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin. Last year, Mr. Eyre received another honor: USPTA named him the 2008 Missouri Valley Coach of the Year, which put him in the running for this year’s national award.
Mr. Eyre has been teaching tennis since he graduated from high school in 1966. He’s taught more than 15,000 people in city parks, YMCA programs, private clubs, schools, and summer camps around the country. Many of his students went on to play college tennis, and some followed in their teacher’s footsteps to work as tennis-teaching professionals themselves. One of Coach Eyre’s former star players, Tyler Cleveland, became a tennis sensation at the University of Iowa, where he was the number one player for four years and Big Ten Player of the Year for both 2000 and 2001. “Lawrence Eyre is one of the best high-school coaches in the country,” Tyler says. “He really helped me develop my game.”
Dr. Richard Beall, Head of Maharishi School, said, “Lawrence Eyre's recognition as the USPTA National High School Coach of the Year is immensely gratifying for our School and community. Lawrence served as a founding faculty member of our school, established our tennis program more than 20 years ago, and is now receiving deserved acclaim for his contributions to this school, his players, his community and state. We appreciate this action by the US Professional Tennis Association to spotlight this treasured coach, an example of sportsmanship and excellence for rest of the country.”
Tennis isn’t Mr. Eyre’s only specialty. While attending Yale University from 1966-70, he was tapped for the Whiffenpoofs, Yale's 100-year-old singing group. “Our recordings, tours, reunion concerts and ongoing friendships over the years have been richly fulfilling,” he says.
A special celebration will be held in the Maharishi School Assembly Hall for Mr. Eyre on Monday, September 28th, at 9:30 a.m. Several of Coach Eyre’s former players will be present along with other dignitaries. Members of the Press are invited to attend.