In every profession, being recognized for individual achievements is always appreciated.

In every profession, being recognized for individual achievements is always appreciated.

Being selected to the hall of fame though, is the ultimate recognition for someone’s hard work.

Former Ardmore Tigers tennis coach Robert Meek was selected to the Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame last month for his achievements with the tennis program.

Meek started coaching tennis at the junior high level for the Tigers in 1986, before becoming the high school boys tennis coach in 1991. 

From 1991 until his retirement from coaching in 2006, Meek lead the Tigers tennis program on a historic run.

Ardmore won four straight state team tennis titles from 1991-1994, finished as state runner-ups in 1995 and 1998 and finished in third place in 1996 and 1997. 

In his 15 years as the Tigers coach, Meek had 21 individual state champions, 22 boys win all-state honors and three girls win all-state honors after he took over coaching duties for the Lady Tigers in 2002.

Meek led the Tigers tennis team to the state tournament all 15 years he was the head coach, as well as the Lady Tigers from 2002-2006.

Even with all the accomplishments as head coach, Meek was still in shock when he received the call.

“When one of the old coaches called me and told me I had been nominated I about fell over,” Meek said. 

“I knew our teams had had success, but I wasn’t coaching forever. Most of the guys in there were also college tennis players, there are some guys in there (the hall of fame) that have unbelievable histories in the game of tennis. Needless to say,  I was taken aback.”

Meek, who is from Ardmore, was raised by the nearby B street tennis courts. 

Although he did not play in high school, his love for the game grew while he was in college at the University of Oklahoma.

“When I got back from Vietnam and went back to school at OU there was a group of us and we used to play tennis,” Meek said. 

“We used to play a few of the adult USTA tournaments, when I got back into teaching and coaching in Ardmore I got real involved in the game.”

With no tennis club in town, Meek used the information he gathered at tournaments and talking to other professionals to help his team against schools from the Oklahoma City and Tulsa area, who had clubs where the students could learn from tennis professionals.

“I was smart enough to also talk to guys who were really good at tennis and I would go to tennis clinics,” Meek said. 

“I would go to USTA tournaments and just got real involved in the game. I knew I had to work my tail off to make sure these kids were successful.”

Before Meek started coaching the Lady Tigers in 2002, Sherry Mitchell was running the program. Coaching with Meek from 1991-2001, Mitchell feels the nomination for Meek was bound to happen.

“He was wonderful, and he made it fun, the kids knew he cared,” Mitchell said. “The expectations were really high, which was good because the kids knew he did that because he did care about them. He had a way of bringing the best out of them.”

Now that the dust has settled from being nominated and inducted into the hall of fame, Meek has had a chance to reflect on his coaching career. Winning the four consecutive state tennis titles will always be one of the first things Meek will be most proud of, but most of all Meek is proud to see the success his kids have had off the court.

“When you watch all these young people become successful in life, I can’t tell you how many have become doctors and lawyers,” Meek said. 

“I mean they are just all walks of life. They have all just done really well in life and they are good people.”