After 21 seasons as Head Coach of the Spring Arbor University women's tennis program, Peggy Calderone has decided to step down following this season.
"The timing is right for me now," said an emotional Calderone. "My kids are now all going to be out of college and I've been a tennis coach for their entire lives."
Calderone's youngest son, Thomas, is a senior on the SAU men's tennis team and will graduate this spring.
For Calderone, it has always been about the players. The relationships she has gained over her 21 years at Spring Arbor have been the most gratifying aspect of being a coach and a mentor to the young women she has been blessed to coach.
"I still have players call and visit me after 20 years after graduating from Spring Arbor," continued Calderone. "Stephanie (Geelhood) Wing was on my first team here and qualified for NAIA Nationals three out of four years while she was here. We traveled to Tulsa (OK) together and had a blast while we were there. She stops by my house every year and we have a chat. That's what I have loved about coaching."
Calderone is a fierce competitor with a desire to always have her players do their best, but it was never about the wins or losses for Calderone. Accurate records are unavailable and unimportant, according to Calderone.
"I've always worked the girls hard on the court, but when the season is over, it's over," she added. "My prayer is that this program will continue to grow and its future coach will find as much success and joy as I have. I am excited to see what the Lord has planned for me in the next phase of my life."
Calderone is very appreciative to Sam Riggleman and Ryan Cottingham for their leadership and expressed a desire to help in any way that she can to help the program continue to move forward.
"We are so grateful for the 21 years of service Peggy provided Spring Arbor University and our athletic department," said Athletic Director, Ryan Cottingham. "She did an outstanding job and was a joy to work with. Peggy's kind and caring nature combined with her wonderful sense of humor will certainly be missed. She positively influenced the lives of so many young women. We wish her all the best in her future endeavors."