While it is no surprise to fans of Badger tennis that head coach Paul Lauterbach is a talented tennis coach, his achievements have been noticed by people outside the area as well.
On Sept. 25, Lauterbach will receive the United States Professional Tennis Association’s High School Coach of the Year award at the organization’s annual conference in Las Vegas.
The first step in the process for Lauterbach was when he won the USPTA’s Midwest division coach of the year honor on Aug. 15, which put him in the running for the national coach of the year along with the other 16 division winners.
Out of the 17 winners, Lauterbach was selected to receive the award.
He believes the recognition is not only thanks to the success the Badger teams have seen lately — with both the boys and the girls tennis teams qualifying for state in 2018 — but also from his work with the Special Olympics, where he was part of a group that organized Wisconsin’s first-ever mixed doubles tennis tournament this past June.
Even though he has known for a few months that he earned the accolades, Lauterbach still finds it hard to believe, and likely will until he flies out to the desert.
“It’s very surreal. It hasn’t registered yet,” Lauterbach said. “I think it’ll hit me more when I get out there and receive the award.”
The award ceremony does not have great timing for the ever-busy Lauterbach, though. Badger’s final meet of the girls tennis season falls on Sept. 23 against Westosha Central, and the Southern Lakes Conference tournament is three days later on the 26th.
In order to keep up with his coaching obligations, Lauterbach will need to take a quick flight after the Westosha match and take a red-eye back after the ceremony on the 25th to attempt to lead his team to conference victory.
Despite the hectic schedule, Lauterbach is honored to have his hard work noticed by the national organization.
“There are some incredible coaches in our own state, and then obviously the Midwest, then the country,” he said. “It’s extremely humbling.”