Longtime coach retires

High School Tennis

ESCANABA — Nobody can argue Denny Lueneburg’s passion in life.

It’s tennis. It started in his teens and continues to this day.

“When I was 15, I picked up a tennis racket and it seemed like the thing to do,” Lueneburg said. “It’s more the passion found me. I just went with it and never looked back. I still have a passion to hit tennis balls and be on the court. Everybody likes to pass on something they know. It happens to be tennis with me. “

Lueneburg recently resigned as the girls’ varsity tennis coach at Escanaba High School. The job has been posted and Athletic Director Nick Nolde said the position will soon be filled.

Lueneburg, a 1971 Holy Name Catholic graduate, said he will continue to spend his summers in Escanaba and teach tennis at a Palm Springs, Calif., club and give independent lessons. He also plans to do some instruction in Escanaba, continue organizing the Michigan-Wisconsin Open and help with the EHS tennis program.

“I resigned from the coaching position,” Lueneburg said. “I will still come back home. I haven’t resigned from tennis. Some people still want lessons and I will do something like that on a limited basis.

“Physically, I am doing OK. I need some rest. I’ve been thinking about it the last few years. This season, I just made a decision. I am on the court 12 months a year. I think the body was telling me I need to dial it down a little bit. I’ve got to keep the legs strong. I want to be fresh when I come back here. “

Lueneburg was a key assistant coach for Karin Flynn, who led the Esky girls’ team to several U.P. championships. He has been a part of EHS tennis for nearly 30 years and took over the program when Flynn retired, most recently leading the Eskymos to the 2011 Division 1 U.P. championship.

Don’t be surprised to see Lueneburg still hanging out at Ludington Park — like he has for four decades — hitting tennis balls and enjoying his passion in life.

“I haven’t resigned from tennis,” Lueneburg said. “I will spend my summer in Escanaba like I always do. It’s what I do. I won’t be in hiding. The final two months, I just won’t be coaching the girls.”

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