Her place among the greats

Drew Butler
Sheri Mitchell receives an award from a committee member of the Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame in honor of her induction Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday afternoon, former Ardmore High School Varsity Girls Head Tennis Coach Sheri Mitchell was inducted into the Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Hall of fame. The ceremony took place in Oklahoma City and Mitchell said friends, family and several former students joined her for the ceremony.

“A bunch of my former students came out today to watch me get inducted, and afterwards we’ve just all been visiting and reminiscing and laughing so much,” Mitchell said. “It’s been an amazing experience.”

During her time coaching at Ardmore Mitchell spent 10 years as varsity girls head coach and three years as junior high head coach. Her team received two 4A State Championships and three 4A State Runner-Ups. During her tenure she coached nine all-state athletes and three individual state champions. She also spent a decade on the Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Association where she served as president from 1993 to 1994.

Mitchell also received personal recognition in the past. In1995, she was named the National Federation of Interscholastic Oklahoma Girls Tennis Coach of the Year. She was also named to OTCA Coach of the Year in 2000.

Mitchell, who grew up playing tennis in high school in Alabama, said when she was first hired at Ardmore, she originally never intended on becoming a coach. But the school’s athletic director had other plans.

“After teaching for a few years, the athletic director came up to me and asked me to coach junior high basketball and tennis,” Mitchell said. “I told him coaching was never in my plans, but he said you come from an athletic family so you can do it. Then after a few years, they moved me up to the varsity level.”

Mitchell said she truly loved her time coaching tennis and was honored to be inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame.

“It was great watching the kids grow and learn,” Mitchell said. “I had high expectations of them, and then of course because we were so successful, it was fun to go watch them learn through their losses and learn through their wins — to set goals and then work to achieve those goals. It was like we were a little family.”