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Lackey, 89, takes over reigns as Ceres High girls tennis coach
Jack hopes to restore Bulldogs tradition of excellence
Jack Lackey has been hired to coach Ceres Highs girls tennis team. Lackeys previous coaching stops were at Stanislaus State, Modesto High, Downey and Riverbank. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Jack Lackey doesn't look like he's 89 years old.

He discovered the fountain of youth-coaching-a long time.

"I really enjoy being around younger kids," said Jack, new leader of Ceres High's varsity girls tennis team. "It makes me feel younger."

Lackey's previous coaching stops were at Stanislaus State, Modesto High, Downey and Riverbank.

"I've been to a lot of clinics, workshops and conferences," Lackey said. "I learned most of my teaching style from Dennis Van der Meer. He coached my daughter (Kim) at the Berkeley Tennis Club when she was seven, eight or nine. She's ranked nationally in the 55-year-old age group."

Lackey started coaching tennis at the prep level after Stanislaus State cut its program, which was reinstated in 2007.

The Lady Warriors posted a combined record of 73-116 under Lackey's guidance from 1982 to 1991.

Lackey spent eight years at Modesto High, vacating his post in 2003.

He helped out at Downey six years ago.

Jack coached at Riverbank the past two seasons.

Lackey was an assistant teaching pro at Modesto Racket Club from 1980-81.

He's been a member of the United States Professional Tennis Association since 1980.

"I've been around the sport for a long time," Jack said.

Lackey will try to help Ceres High restore its tradition of excellence.

The Bulldogs have qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs seven out of the past nine years.

Ceres High, fourth in the Western Athletic Conference standings at 6-6 this past fall, failed to advance to the postseason in 2015 and 2013.

"When I coached at Modesto High, we came here for practice matches," Lackey said. "They've had a good program for a long time."

Ceres High returns 10 players from last year's team, including Dominique Koeurn (Sr.), Andria Esho (Sr.), Azia Brewster (Sr.), Vivian Moreno (So.), Bella Rosas (Jr.), Shania Evans (So.), Sarah Cuevas (Sr.), Morgan Bejaran (So.), Camille Vega (So.) and Ariel Coria (Jr.).

Koeurn, Esho, Brewster, Moreno, Rosas and Evans will start at No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 singles, respectively.

Cuevas and Bejaran make up the Bulldogs' No. 1 doubles team.

Vega and Harmen Bahia (Jr.) will team up at No. 2 doubles.

Coria and Kayla Sierras (Jr.) are No. 3 doubles players.

Brewster earned second-team all-WAC recognition for her outstanding play at No. 1 doubles a year ago.

Azia and Aleena Ahmed amassed a near-perfect 5-1 record in wins against Patterson, Livingston and Pacheco.

Koeurn and Esho were honorable-mention selections.

Dominique (1-5) and Esho (3-3) started at No. 1 and 2 singles, respectively.

"It's a pretty inexperienced team," Lackey said. "It's going to take some time and coaching. We have the numbers. I'm not looking at the end result. I'm looking at improvement as we go along. We'll get better."

Tennis has been Lackey's passion for the past seven decades.

"I've been playing for 70 years and I still play twice a week," Jack said. "I love the sport. I love being a tennis coach. I'm very lucky and happy."