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. He’d
just finished his 31st season coaching the girls team,
which he helped start in 1972. And the 2004 boy’s team
was his last also, concluding a career that started in
1972. Count them. that is 33 years as the boy’s 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
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
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 he’d 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 Hank’s 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 he’d 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
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