MMS teacher Duquette is new EPHS girls’ tennis coach

Second-year instructor is first-time varsity mentor

By Mike Rego
Posted 8/27/19

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School girls’ tennis program has a new head coach in district teacher Cory Duquette, who replaces long-time mentor Kathy Dias for the start of the 2019 …

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MMS teacher Duquette is new EPHS girls’ tennis coach

Second-year instructor is first-time varsity mentor

Posted

EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School girls’ tennis program has a new head coach in district teacher Cory Duquette, who replaces long-time mentor Kathy Dias for the start of the 2019 campaign.

A native of Warwick and a Toll Gate grad, Duquette played No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles for the Rhode Island College men’s team during a five-year stint with the Anchormen that was interrupted due to injury.

“We are thrilled to have a young educator who has played competitive tennis in college and has worked as a tennis camp instructor for years. We believe he is the perfect fit for our program,” East Providence District Athletic Director Gregg Amore said of Duquette’s hiring.

Duquette, 25 and who becomes a head coach for the first time, actually arrived to the sport rather late. He was a track athlete at Toll Gate before taking up tennis for fitness reasons as a senior.

“I picked it up during my senior year of high school,” Duquette explained. “I lost a lot of weight doing it (an astounding 70 pounds) and just fell in love with the sport.”

Entering his second year as a seventh grade Math teacher at Martin Middle School, Duquette has spent the last three summers as an assistant tennis professional at the Plum Beach Club in North Kingstown at base of Jamestown Bridge where he instructs youngster mostly ages 2-8.

He inherits an EPHS squad which struggled a year ago upon its return to Division II after being realigned up from D-III where the Townies were one of the better sides in previous seasons. East Providence went 2-11 last fall in D-II, a year after reaching the D-III playoff semifinals.

On his first impressions of his roster, Duquette said, “I’ve seen a lot of girls who are ready and eager to learn about tennis. I don’t think they’ve ever really had a technical coach per se, so it’s been really fun to see how each of them is beginning to find their game and for me to be able to tweak it a little bit, to make them better tennis players.

“Right now, I’m just still going over the fundamentals, learning their styles. We’ll work on the ladder the first week of school.”

Of his philosophy as a first-time head coach, he added: “I want them to know the fundamentals of tennis, how to hold the racquet, but really I’ve been starting from scratch, teaching them different kinds of spin. But what I really want for them is to be hungry. That’s one of the biggest keys. The record last year wasn’t too hot, so this year I want a nice new fresh start.”

Duquette repeatedly referred to instilling a sense of desire into his players, stressing it was a key component for them to improve individually and for the team to get better as a whole. It’s a theme he said will be integral in his approach to coaching during what he hopes will be a long stay on the EPHS girls’ tennis sideline.

“I’m in it for the long haul,” Duquette said. “I really want the girls to have a lot of fun playing tennis. I feel like tennis is a life long sport that you can play forever. I want them to stay hungry, to want to win, feel kind of bummed out when they lose. I asked a couple of them what it was like when they lose, and they kind of had the mentality like, ‘Oh, well, it is what it is.’ I want everyone to be hungry. I want it to hurt a little bit when they lose.”

Duquette also said he expects his players to be attentive and to put in the time necessary to improve, show a willingness to learn from him and their teammates.

“You don’t have to be the best player on the team, but you still have to work hard. Because like I told them, I wasn’t that good at all when I started, but I worked as hard as I could. I lost 70 pounds playing tennis. I just continued to improve. I watched other players, learned from them. I improved my tennis ability and it also helped my coaching. So you can get something out of working and watching anyone.”

The Townies open their initial season with Duquette at the helm on Thursday, Sept. 5, with a league road contest in Middletown. EPHS plays its first home match of the fall on Tuesday, Sept. 10, against Classical.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.