Vincent has been foundation of GC tennis for decades | Grayson County

    Growing up in Caneyville, Sherry Vincent learned early the importance of many of the benefits small-town life could bring — hard work, a sense of community where townspeople cared about kids, and the benefits a love for sports could bring to those who followed their dreams.

    Vincent followed her and fell in love with sports.

    When Caneyville built tennis courts behind the old Caneyville School in the mid-1970s, Vincent found her playground of dreams.

    “I lived on the courts, playing people older and better,” she said. When there was nobody there to play, she said she spent hour after hour returning shots off brick walls of the former school and the town’s post office.

    A self-proclaimed “tomboy,” she found a love and passion for the game at an early age, as well as other sports such as basketball and softball. She said she played all three sports at what is now Campbellsville University after graduating in 1982 from Grayson County High School.

    Her passion quickly translated into teaching and being a difference-maker in the lives of student-athletes. In a world where coaches in all sports seem to have a shorter and shorter coaching lifespan, Vincent has spent either “34 or 35 years” as the tennis coach at Grayson County High School.

    “Coach Vincent means everything to our tennis program,” GCHS Athletic Director Robert Kinkade said. “She has built it from the ground up and has won nine or 10 regional titles…I never have to worry about her program.”

    For Vincent, it has always been about teaching first, and coaching second. She has meshed the two to lead the tennis program to plenty of success over the years.

    “I love teaching; coaching is a way of life,” she said. She coaches the boys and girls programs at GCHS.

    And she takes both seriously. She said, “The tennis court is an educational arena.”

    “Coaching is critical to development as an athlete,” she said. “Coaching is in my DNA, striving to make a difference in the lives of others…Coaching has been a vehicle for me to give back to others.”

    Vincent said the validation she receives for her work and commitment shines through the successes and life of her players through the years — hundreds of them.

    “But knowing the purpose of why you coach sustains you for the whole journey,” she said. “You will achieve lots of goals along the way, but your validation will come through your players.”

    She said the entire experience of being a student-athlete and the lessons learned and the foundation that’s created in young lives by that experience, has a long-lasting impact.

    “…Being a student-athlete offers so much more than the sport,” she said.

    Kinkade said Vincent sets a high bar for coaches and student-athletes.

    “Coach Vincent has very high standards for our student-athletes and that’s what you want; you want your student-athletes to be challenged,” he said. “She demands the best out of her athletes on the court and in the classroom.”

    Not only does Vincent coach at the high school, but she also creates a learning environment for the game during the summer by holding various camps.

    Cougar Tennis Camp this year will be June 13-16, June 20-23 and July 11-14 from 5-6:30 pm More information on the camps, private lessons and junior clinics is available by calling 270-572-1850.

    Vincent said there are many factors into building a program the right way, such as “personal accountability.”

    “Your team culture starts with your coach,” she said. “Building character is the real commitment to winning; you must stand for what is right. I take a lot of pride in the program, the winningest in school history. I’m very proud of the players that have come and gone through the program.”

    Vincent also said she is grateful for mentors who helped her along the way.

    She said she isn’t sure how much longer she will coach, but when she ends her storied career, she said it will be a “quiet exit, I will know.”

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