BENDIGO tennis coach Aidan Fitzgerald is in contention to be named Victoria's Community Coach of the Year.
Fitzgerald has been nominated in the category as part of next month's Victorian Sports Awards for his work as the head of coaching at Giant Tennis, with whom he is also a co-founder and director.
Giant Tennis is based at the South Bendigo Tennis Club, but also runs coaching programs at clubs including Maiden Gully, Bendigo RSL, Strathfieldsaye, Castlemaine and Axedale.
Fitzgerald's nomination for the Gallagher Community Coach of the Year comes after he was last October named Tennis Victoria's Coach of the Year.
"It's wonderful to be nominated... it's a bit unexpected, but certainly an honour," Fitzgerald said this week.
"Through our peak season we've got close to 450 people involved in our program ranging from as young as four through to players in their 70s.
Through our peak season we've got close to 450 people involved in our program ranging from as young as four through to players in their 70s- Aidan Fitzgerald
"I really enjoying watching the players grow; I think tennis is more than just hitting a ball, I really enjoy seeing the personality of the players come out on court and putting together gameplans around those personalities.
"And the social interaction coaching provides is fantastic.
"We've got a fantastic team of coaches involved in the program and we all work together well, so this really is a team nomination for the program."
Fitzgerald's career includes playing college tennis in the United States, a stint in Germany as a coach, and playing on the Australian circuit before moving back to Bendigo.
In announcing his nomination, the Victorian Sports Awards described Fitzgerald as a fantastic role model.
"As a coach he provides a culture of fun, exclusivity and support for the community," the nomination said.
"As a player he performs at a high level showcasing excellent sportsmanship on and off the court.
"His philosophy is to ensure all players, regardless of ability, are playing their best tennis."
The Victorian Sports Awards will be held at Melbourne Park on Wednesday, June 15.
Among the past winners of the Gallagher Community Coach of the Year is Bendigo's Hannah Every-Hall in 2019 for rowing.
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