Ask Ben Loeb where he got his passion for tennis and he will tell you it came from his passion for coaching.
“I got my passion for coaching first,” Loeb said.
Apparently Loeb’s passion has not gone unnoticed.
Loeb won his second Midwest Sectional Coach of the Year award Thursday.
The National Federation of State High School Associations honored Loeb with the award, which is given to the top girls’ high school tennis coach in Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.
Loeb is in his sixth year as coach of the Rock Bridge boys’ and girls’ tennis teams and has a record of 290-52 at the school.
A players' coach
“He really knows the game and he’s really dedicated,” senior Stephanie Smarr said, “He puts a lot of time into it.”
Last season, the Bruins won the Class 2 team state championship. It was Loeb’s third as coach of the Rock Bridge girls’ tennis team and the fourth of his career.
His other state championship came in 1994 when he coached the Hickman boys’ tennis team to a state championship in his 10th and final year at the school.
Loeb left Hickman that summer to take over the tennis programs at Rock Bridge, where he had been teaching while coaching the Kewpies.
“It was difficult the first year,” Loeb said, “I felt if I was going to continue to teach for the long term it was best if I taught and coached at the same school.”
Loeb has the second most career wins of any coach in the state. He is 410-93 while at Hickman and Rock Bridge during the past 16 years.
Loeb first became interested in coaching while watching the Arizona State tennis team as an MBA student at the university. In 1986, Loeb began coaching the Missouri women’s tennis team while getting his education specialization degree in business education.