Columbus North tennis coach Kendal Hammel has been named Midwest Division Indiana Pro of the Year as part of a group of awards announced by the United States Professional Tennis Association.
Hammel is to receive his award during the ATP Western and Southern Open in August in Mason, Ohio. His selection makes him eligible for the Midwest Division Pro of the Year against four other state winners. The Midwest Division is a five-state region that includes Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin.
“I’m very honored,” Hammel told The Republic. “There are a lot of great teaching pros in the state of Indiana. I put a lot of time into my tennis out on the court and off the court – not only in my club but at the high school level as well. It’s definitely not your typical 9-to-5 job. It’s always something interesting.
“I’m appreciative, too, for all the boys and girls and adults whom I’ve worked with over the years. It’s always nice to see them succeed in tennis, too.”
This is the second major award that Hammel has received this year. In January, he was named Indiana boys tennis Coach of the Year for the 2018-19 school year by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
The USPTA award is for Hammel’s work as a teaching pro at the Tipton Lakes Athletic Club, where he works in addition to his role as a Columbus North coach. Hammel, a graduate of Huntington North High School and Anderson University, also received the USTPA Indiana award in 2010, and he was named a winner of the local Jack Cramer Award in 2016. He also has served as the director for the USTA Midwest Championship each July for more than 20 years.
“Kendal always is energetic and good with all people he teaches,” TLAC general manager Mary Beth Wilson told the newspaper. “He teaches from 4-year-olds to 74-year-olds, and he does a fantastic job with every age group that he teaches. He’s one of the hardest workers that I know and a fantastic tennis teacher as well.”
Hammel, 63, has been the Columbus North boys tennis coach since the 1995-96 school year, and he has been the Bull Dogs’ girls tennis coach since the 1996-97 school year. He also coached boys tennis for two seasons at Bloomington North prior to moving to Columbus.
As a high school boys coach, Hammel’s team are 414-171 in dual matches, including the two seasons at Bloomington North. In 25 seasons with the CNHS boys, his teams have won five Conference Indiana championships, 22 sectional trophies, 11 regional titles, and four semi-state crowns. The Bull Dog boys have reached the boys State Finals four times, placing fourth in 2007, third in 2008, fifth in 2018 and third in 2019.
His Columbus North girls’ teams are 385-164 in dual matches with one South Central Conference title, seven CI crowns, 21 sectional trophies, 14 regional titles and three semi-state crowns. They have competed in the girls State finals three times, finishing second in 2010, fifth in 2016 and fifth in 2019. This is Hammel’s 24th season with the CNHS girls, but all spring 2020 matches were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall, Hammel’s teams have posted 799 dual-match victories, and he provides no indication of slowing down.
“It just depends on health and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “I enjoy being at the club, all the clinics and all levels of play with the adults, the junior kids and the high school level. I still like doing the big tennis tournaments and things like that. I’ve had a lot of friendships and a lot of great memories throughout the years of parents, kids and families. But I’m not done yet.”
PHOTO: Columbus North tennis coach Kendal Hammel offers advice to Eva Chevalier during the Bull Dogs’ sectional match against Columbus East on May 17, 2019. Hammel has been named Midwest Division Indiana Pro of the Year by the United States Professional Tennis Association.