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Superstar, Coach, and Idol

Kris Grabner’s story before he became a tennis coach.
Provided by K.Grabner
Kris Grabner playing tennis at one of his college games.

Kris Grabner and his coach at the time sat down at a table and were enjoying a nice meal before possibly the biggest game he had. Enjoying the time to themselves, a rival player and coach sat down at the same table introducing themselves. As Grabner stood up to shake hands his coach said something that would give him the confidence to win against his match opponent.

“This is the future all-american Kris Grabner,” the words rang in his head as he set the first serve, eventually, he began to believe it. Giving him the confidence to continue when he thought otherwise.

Almost 30 years later, he has made his career as a coach, player, and inspiration for teachers and students alike. As a soccer coach, he became well known for his discipline and intuition, taking his time to make the team better by getting to know the team inside and out.

“I was a part of the team in the early 2000s when Grabner was still pretty new to Huntley and coaching. He quickly became a very good friend of mine, and as a teacher and coach he is the first person I go to when I need advice or help with something,” varsity boys and girls soccer coach Matthew Lewendowski said. 

“He’s evolved from up-in-your yelling to calm and collective, always looking for the best for us. To see the change is what I think makes him appear that way, open-minded and 100% dedicated to letting people be their best, passionate and open-minded,” Lewendowski said.

Starting as the soccer coach, after 14 years with the boy’s team and 15 years with the girls, he and another well-known coach, Barry Wells, grew close as friends. 

“I started teaching in Huntley 22 years ago and wanted to coach and be involved. I played tennis for 4 years in high school, and 2 years in college. There weren’t any tennis coaching jobs when I started, but there was a JV soccer position. I started coaching JV, but tennis is where I will always belong,” Wells said.

“I coached tennis for 18 years and made the tough decision that my family was more important, leaving it all behind. I would tell coach Grabner to enjoy it and I know the team is in good hands.” 

Following after coach Wells’ blueprint for the tennis team, Grabner is taking inspiration from not just Wells, but old memories from a very good friend. 

“The main inspiration with my coaching is not just from coach Wells, but also from my college coach. He always had this aura about him that said yep, I know what to do. No matter how bad things seemed to get, he still had a plan” Grabner said.

Although Grabner will always be known as the soccer coach, the future holds promise for a new reputation that can only grow. Tennis is where he feels at home more than anything, from when he enters the court to right before the first serve he can not be any further from his comfort.

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About the Contributor
Calvin Mcfalls
Calvin Mcfalls, Staff Writer
Calvin McFalls is a senior staff writer of The Voice, and has been a part of the program for three years. A lot of his free time comes down to learning new things, working, and watching (or playing) video games. He will happily spend a whole day talking about Star Wars, or any topic that intrigues him.

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