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Hank Hulst

Think Huron High School tennis. Think Hank Hulst. At least until the girls prep season ended in November of 2004. Hank turned the reins over to a new coach. Hed just finished his 31st season coaching the girls team, which he helped start in 1972. And the 2004 boys team was his last also, concluding a career that started in 1972. Count them. that is 33 years as the boys team coach. All at Huron High School.

For his long career and dedication to high school tennis, Hank is a recipient of the 2005 SD Tennis Achievement Award.

A highlight of his career was coaching his three daughters; Carmen, Sheryl and Jaime. It was a real family affair when the Huron Tigers captured the girls team title in 1986, led by state singles champion Carmen, who then teamed with sister Sheryl to capture the doubles.

Hank says what comes to mind first, though, were the many relationships built with other coaches and players. "This is South Dakota, people are so willing to help others learn this game," said Hank.

Longtime Lincoln High coach Chris Dummermuth recalls Hank handing her team the tennis balls to kick off each prep season with the Huron Quadrangular, in early April. "That is barring snow, one year eleven inches," said Chris. "I always think of Hank as part of grassroots South Dakota high school tennis. He had a keen eye for tennis talent and always showed the utmost encouragement for all players throughout the state."

Hank was probably inspired to help others learn tennis to return the favor hed received as a high school student in Crookston, MN, where he graduated in 1956. A standout baseball and basketball player (he still holds the school scoring record), it was a summer day that a tennis player from the University of Minnesota spotted Hanks athleticism and suggested he give tennis a try.

He lent Hank a racquet, gave him a few pointers and Hank quickly put into play what hed seen from tennis on television. Off Hank went. His conditioning and strong baseline game in check, Hank went to college, the first year at Jamestown and then to Mayville State in North Dakota. There he captured three conference singles championships.

He earned degrees in elementary education (1961) and secondary education from Mayville, and started teaching at Huron in the Fall of 1961. Over his 42 year teaching career, all in Huron, he was at three different elementary schools and the middle school.

Wife Donna was a student at Huron College when they met and married in 1967, and quickly became his very able hitting partner with summer tennis at the parks in Huron. Looking ahead, Hank sees lots of good times with his children and nine grandchildren, ages one to 11. Now retired, Hank will have more time to enjoy hearing Donna perform her hand bell solos. "She is one of the best," said Hank, "and that is playing alone with a set of 16 bells."