Assistant Steve Sand promoted to head coach of Aspen High girls tennis team
Steve Sand briefly gave up tennis after high school, but it didn’t take long before the sport pulled him back in and never let go.
“I was a little burnt out after high school. I kind of swore off tennis and moved out here and found some friends and got back into it,” Sand said. “Tennis is a great sport and I couldn’t stay away. I just needed a little break. I’m glad I picked it up again.”
Sand, 47, moved to Aspen in 1996. He’s a former accountant who once owned his own consulting firm. He traded that life in to become a teacher — he’s the business education teacher at Aspen High School — and coach.
Sand has worked with the AHS boys tennis team the past five years and the girls team the past three as an assistant. Recently, he was promoted to head coach of the girls high school team. He replaces Lauren MacKay, who left the area after two years as the team’s head coach.
“I just want to help and serve the kids in the community in any way I can,” Sand said. “I was happy being an assistant, but the opportunity is here so I’m ready to jump in and take it.”
Sand has long been a tennis coach in the Roaring Fork Valley, working at both Aspen Meadows Resort and Maroon Creek Club over the past 20 years. He’s a certified tennis professional through the U.S. Professional Tennis Association.
Originally from Chicago, Sand moved to Aspen to ski for a winter and like so many has never left. He admires the local tennis culture despite its unfriendly tennis weather.
“There is a great tennis program in the valley and great instructors and great junior programs,” Sand said. “Even with our weather and a lack of public, indoor courts, the kids find a way to practice and improve. It has a lot to do with the parents and the kids’ dedication.”
Practice gets underway later this month for the AHS girls tennis team, which plays in the spring. The Skiers finished seventh as a team in the state tournament last year, highlighted be a third-place finish at No. 1 singles from then-sophomore Mary Williams, who is expected back this spring.
Sand plans to continue to assist the AHS boys team, which plays in the fall under head coach Gary Quandt, while serving as the girls head coach.
“We got great girls, great parents, great support from the school,” Sand said. “I’m just excited to keep the momentum we have.”
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The 2020-21 Nordic combined season was supposed to be historic. This winter was going to be the first ever with women’s Nordic combined World Cup events, the first scheduled for Dec. 3-6 in Lillehammer, Norway.