On Sep. 29, the Jay and Mimi Morsman Tennis Pavilion officially opened with a celebration to honor Jay and Mimi Morsman for their combined 99 years of service to Deerfield.
In Mr. Morsman’s 29 years as Head Coach of Boys Varsity Tennis, the team won two New England Championships as well as a National Championship. Morsman’s service to both the History Department and the playing fields was measured not only in years but in dedication to students in and out of the classroom.
The Deerfield tennis community gathered to watch as the pavilion, which had been under construction since last winter, finally opened. The keynote address was delivered by Todd Martin, CEO of The International Tennis Hall of Fame and world-renowned tennis player. Martin reached the finals of the 1994 Australian Open and the 1999 US Open and also won eight singles championships and five doubles championships on the Professional Tour.
Mr. Martin spoke to the Morsman’s dedication to service, saying, “Not only is it 99 years of service, but it is a transformation in countless student’s lives.”
Mr. Martin also spoke to his successes, saying that, “My greatest life experience was no one match, it was the ability to learn about the world outside of my own bubble.” He grappled with some very pressing issues in his keynote, focusing on the importance of gratitude and finding triumph in your failure.
Mr. Martin also placed emphasis on what a special place Deerfield is saying that, “Deerfield is a place I never thought I would be, but is a place I’m surrounded by.”
He cited many co-workers, friends, and family that attended Deerfield saying, “Deerfield is everywhere.”
Athletic Director Bob Howe also spoke at the event, and held great pride in the Pavilion saying, “This center is the best tennis facility at any school in New England. This center will attract the top tennis players from all over the country and allow us to grow the sport on campus and beyond.”
The event served not only as a testament to the Morsmans but also as a way to bring together current and former members of the Deerfield tennis community. Former Boys Varsity Tennis Head Coach William Speer returned to campus to celebrate the opening of the Pavilion.
When asked what it was like being back at Deerfield he responded, “It’s weird. It still feels like my home, but it’s not.”
Mr. Speer is now teaching at the Cranbrook School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan which he described as, “Very different … the atmosphere is different when you have kids commuting to and from home.”
Current Deerfield tennis players were very excited about Speer’s homecoming with Arthur Yao ’20 saying, “It’s so great to have him back; we’re going to miss him so much this season.”
This year Mollie Domain will be taking over as Boys Varsity Tennis Head Coach. Domain played for Cornell, competing first in both singles and doubles. She is currently the Assistant Coach at Amherst College. Ms. Domain has already begun preparing the boys for the season, organizing practices off-campus and on to get the team into shape for the upcoming season.
Yao commented on Ms. Domain saying, “She uses her experiences as a student-athlete to coach us and is probably one of the best I have ever worked with. Whether we are working on rally drills or point plays, she knows what every single player needs to improve on and how to accomplish that.”
Ms. Domain will be a very valuable asset as the varsity squad looks to reclaim its spot on the top of the New England tennis pyramid. The new facility will also be a valuable asset as it will allow both the boys and girls to train year round, ensuring peak performance in season. This performance was previewed at the end of the event when many athletes took the court at the end of the event.
Athletic Stockroom Assistant and beloved Deerfield figurehead Norm Therien, commented on the facility and the event saying “It is such a great day for the Morsman family and the entire Deerfield community.”
The dedication concluded with refreshments and cupcakes, as well as lots of students playing tennis. Mr. Martin also signed custom tennis balls and met with some student-athletes.
Credit is due to the Advancement Office for pulling together this event. This facility is going to enrich not only the Deerfield tennis community but the surrounding areas as well. The new Tennis Pavilion is sure to be the cornerstone of Deerfield athletics.