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SUFFOLK FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES TWO $5000 2016 MAST SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS

The Suffolk Foundation announced that there were two winners of the $5,000 2016 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarships: in alphabetical order, seniors Joshua Malcolm Bush and Arielle Therese Balata Reyes, both residents of Suffolk. This is a first for the Mast Scholarship housed at the Suffolk Foundation, and a first for any Scholarship housed at the Suffolk Foundation. Making two $5,000 Mast Awards was enabled by an anonymous donor who learned that the Mast Scholarship Award Committee found both Applicants deserving of the $5,000 Award, but given its procedures could choose only one. Learning of the quandary, the anonymous donor is solving the problem by contributing $5,000. Ms. O'Connor presented one $5,000 Mast Scholarship Award to Mr. Bush, and Mr. Blair presented the other  to Ms. Reyes Wednesday night May 11th at King's Fork High School's Senior Awards Night.

 

From left to right, Award presenter Cheryl O'Connor of Suffolk; Mast Awardee Josh Bush, Mast Awardee Arielle Reyes and Award presenter & Chair of the Mast Award & Fundraising Committees Robert Blair of Washington, DC.

 

The Mast Scholarship was established in 2007 to honor Howard D. Mast, a person who helped literally thousands of Suffolk youth as Suffolk's Parks and Recreation Director from 1947 to 1966. Most will remember him for creating from scratch a public tennis program that produced Commonwealth of Virginia, Mid-Atlantic and even nationally ranked tennis players, both girls and boys. He was effectively the farm team for Suffolk High School's six (6) straight Boys' State High School Tennis Championships. But Mr. Mast touched the lives of many more youth through other athletic and non-athletic activities; evening sock hops at the Birdsong Recreation Center; fun and games at parks; midget and junior football, basketball, baseball, track and field; dancing and indoor skating at the old City Hall gym; and much more. 

 

In accordance with the Scholarship's criteria, the Award Committee reviewed each applicant's financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities, character and recommendations.

 

Ms. Reyes learned tennis on the Howard Mast Tennis Courts behind Farm Fresh starting in the fourth grade and went on to play KFHS Varsity Girls Tennis all four years, captaining the team her junior and senior years. The Award Committee was particularly touched by her Mast Essay which captured the essence of Mr. Howard Mast, his character and what he stood for. 

 

Mr. Bush played both KFHS Varsity Boys Football and Baseball. The Award Committee was also touched by his Mast Essay which spoke to character in the face of uncertainty and the tragedy he had to face when "life happened" half-way through high school. Mr. Mast would have been proud of how Mr. Bush responded: Achieving in both sports and academics.

 

Ms. Reyes excelled on the academic side as she did in tennis: Academic Honor Roll all four years; UVA Jefferson Book Award; Virginian-Pilot Scholastic Achievement Award and National Honor Society 10th, 11th and 12th grades; class rank as of this writing 3rd out of 250, among other achievements. Ms. Reyes was Vice President of the Student Council and was also active in extracurricular actives and community service. She will attend the University of Virginia in the fall majoring in Biology on the Pre-Medicine track.

 

Mr. Bush also excelled on the academic side: Honor Graduate, class rank as of this writing 8th out of 250; highest GPA in elementary school; 2nd highest GPA in middle school. He is President of his Senior Class; serves others in Youth Empowered to Serve; volunteered for Special Olympics; is a member of, and participant in Fellowship of Christian Athletes; a member of Men of Iron; and worked part-time at the Suffolk YMCA mentoring younger children.  Mr. Bush will attend East Carolina University in the fall majoring in Engineering.

 

From left to right, Mast Award Committee Member Michelle Waller of Suffolk & Committee Member & legal counsel Sandy Tucker of Richmond; Award Committee member & Mast Scholarship presenter Cheryl O'Connor of Suffolk; Mast Awardee Josh Bush; Mast Awardee Arielle Reyes; Mast Scholarship Presenter & Award Committee Chair Robert Blair of Washington, DC; & Mast Award Committee member & Suffolk City Councilman Don Goldberg.

 

The Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Award Committee said it was again able to double the normal $2,500 award to $5,000 in 2016 through the gift of an anonymous donor who contributed $10,000 to double the normal $2,500 award to $5,000 for the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Mast Scholarship awards. And as noted above, another anonymous donor is contributing $5,000 to enable the Suffolk Foundation to make two $5,000 Mast Scholarship Awards in 2016.  All Award Committee Members were among the thousand or more young beneficiaries of Mr. Mast’s tennis and other programs.

 






 

Suffolk Foundation Announces 2015 Mast Scholarship Winner



 

Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Award Committee member Michelle Waller with Nansemond River High School senior Kristina Lynelle Super



The Suffolk Foundation announced that Kristina Lynelle Super is the winner of the 2015 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship. Ms. Super, a Nansemond River High School senior, resides in the City of Suffolk with her parents Jeffrey and Alison Super. Ms. Michelle Waller presented the $5,000 Mast Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the Suffolk Foundation to Ms. Super Wednesday night May 20th at the School’s Awards Assembly held in the School’s auditorium.
The Mast Scholarship honors the incomparable Howard D. Mast, who served the City of Suffolk as its Parks and Recreation Director from 1949 until 1966. He was known throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region as “Mr. Tennis” and was elected to the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame in 1995. Mr. Mast was a mentor, teacher, coach and friend to thousands of citizens in the City of Suffolk and throughout the Commonwealth, especially to the youth of Suffolk and the Commonwealth.
In accordance with the Scholarship’s criteria for making the selection, the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Award Committee reviewed the applicant’s financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities, character and recommendations. The Committee was especially impressed with Kristina’s pursuits in the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program at NRHS. She took courses such as Introduction to Engineering Design, Engineering Design Development, Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics, Honors Chemistry, Honors Algebra II-Trigonometry, AP Calculus and AP Physics, among other courses. Her and her team’s work on their reverse engineering project tested their and her mettle. The Committee also took notice of her decision to seek a degree in Environmental Science from the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. Too few young women seek degrees in the STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Howard Mast himself earned an engineering degree from Virginia Tech.

Ms. Super also participated in many school activities. She was elected by her peers President of the NRHS Chapter of the National Honor Society, was an active member in the Beta Club, a member of the Student Council, selected as the Female Ambassador of NRHS, was NHRS Varsity Cheer Captain, and while doing all that and more was able to attain great academic success. Her community service has been extensive as well.

She is also a soprano singer in the Suffolk Presbyterian Choir and a participant in its Young Life Organization. In one of Ms. Super’s reference letter, the author, who has known Ms. Super for years and is himself the recipient of a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, stated that, “Without question, Kristina has the intellect, strength of character, leadership potential and ‘spark’ to thrive in any demanding college curriculum, and I should add, into postgraduate studies as well.” The Committee could not disagree with that assessment.

Ms. Super’s essay on Mr. Howard Mast was quite noteworthy. The Committee felt that she really understood what that giant of a man was all about. The Committee also believed that Mr. Mast would be proud indeed that Ms. Super was awarded the Scholarship bearing his name. Kristina will be an Honor Graduate and has been accepted and plans to attend Virginia Tech in the Fall. The $5,000 Scholarship award will be sent directly to Virginia Tech.

 





From left to right, James Blair of Suffolk, a stalwart supporter of the Mast Scholarship; Award Committee member Michelle Waller of Suffolk; Awardee Kristina Super and Robert Blair of Washington, DC, Chair of the Award and Fundraising Committees.

The Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Award Committee said it was again able to double the normal $2,500 award to $5,000 in 2015 through the generous gift of Tom Bell of Atlanta who grew up in Suffolk and was one of the thousand or more young beneficiaries of Mr. Mast’s tennis and other programs, as were all members of the Award Committee. An anonymous donor has contributed $10,000 to double the normal $2,500 award to $5,000 for the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 Mast Scholarship awards.

I


Suffolk Foundation Announces 2014 Mast Scholarship Winner 


Destanie Fonoimnoana is flanked on her left by Don Goldberg of Suffolk and on her right by Robert Blair of Washington, DC.

 

“The Suffolk Foundation announced that Destanie Fonoimoana is the winner of the 2014 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship. Ms. Fonoimoana , a King’s Fork High School senior, resides in the City of Suffolk  with her mother, Ms. Tiffany Booth. Mr. Donald Goldberg presented the $5,000 award at the King’s Fork Senior Awards Program held on Tuesday, May 20th in the school auditorium.

“The Mast Scholarship honors Howard D. Mast, who served the City of Suffolk as its Parks and Recreation Director from 1949 until 1966.  He was known throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region as ‘Mr. Tennis.’  He served as mentor, teacher, coach and friend to countless citizens, young and old, in the City of Suffolk and beyond. 

“In making the selection, the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Awards Committee reviewed the applicant’s financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities, character and recommendations. The Committee was especially impressed with Destanie’s ability to participate in numerous school activities, particularly varsity tennis, golf and swimming, and be able to maintain exceptional academic success.  Her leadership skills were very evident in being selected as Captain of both the swim and tennis teams.

 

“She was able to balance her extremely challenging course of studies, participate in athletic activities, receive recognition as the most outstanding student in Chemistry, Geometry, and Algebraic Functions and Data. Destanie has been involved as a volunteer both in the community and her church.  She attends East End Baptist Church, where she is an active member and officer of the Vision Youth Choir and Youth Usher’s Ministry.  In one of Ms. Fonoimoana’s letters of reference, the teacher stated that, based on Destanie’s many outstanding characteristics, she had no other choice but to refer to Destanie as ‘phenomenal.’ 

 

 “It was obvious to the Committee that Destanie is a firm believer in the philosophy that nothing worthwhile can be gained without dedication and hard work, a philosophy that was exhibited by Mr. Howard D. Mast.  The Committee felt Destanie demonstrates this philosophical attribute in everything she undertakes.  Destanie will be an Honor Graduate and has been accepted and plans to attend Old Dominion University in the Fall. The $5,000 Scholarship award will be sent directly to Old Dominion University.“

 

The picture above is of Ms. Fonoimoana, and to her left as she faces the camera is Mr. Goldberg, member of the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Awards Committee and Senior Vice President and Director of New Business Development, Harvey Lindsay Commercial Real Estate; to her right is Robert Blair of Washington, DC, Chairman of the Awards and Fundraising Committees.

 

From left to right, Robert Blair, Tiffany Booth, Awards Committee members Michelle Waller and Don Goldberg.

 

The Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Awards Committee said it was able to double the 2013 $2,500 award to $5,000 in 2014 through the generous gift of Tom Bell of Atlanta who grew up in Suffolk and was one of the thousand or more young beneficiaries of Mr. Mast’s tennis and other programs, as were all members of the Awards Committee. Mr. Bell’s gift will also enable the award of a $5,000 Mast Scholarship in 2015. An anonymous donor has contributed $5,000 to double the normal $2,500 award to  $5,000 for the 2016 and 2017 Mast Scholarship awards.

 


 



Foundation announces Mast scholarship winner

Published 7:33pm Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Suffolk Foundation is pleased to announce the 2013 recipient of the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship is Casey Jade Wood, a Nansemond River High School senior. Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Barry Wood, who reside in the city of Suffolk.

In making the selection, the committee reviewed the applicant’s academic performance, extracurricular activities, character, and recommendations. The selection committee was especially impressed with Wood’s ability to participate in numerous athletic activities, particularly varsity tennis (2010-2013) and volleyball (2009-2013), work a part-time job, and maintain exceptional academic success, according to a press release from the Suffolk Foundation.
    Woods
Woods

In both volleyball and tennis, Wood served as team captain, was a four-year letterman, was named the MVP, and made the All-District Team. She was able to balance her challenging course of studies, participate in athletic activities, receive early admittance into the National Beta Club, and receive the Academic Excellence Awards in 2010 and 2012.

It was obvious to the scholarship committees Wood is a firm believer in Mast’s philosophy that “nothing worthwhile can be gained without dedication and hard work.” The committees felt Wood demonstrated this attribute in everything she undertook, according to the press release.

Wood will be an honor graduate this spring and plans to attend Radford University next year. The $2,500 scholarship award will be sent directly to Radford University.

Wood stated in her essay that she thought Mast would be proud of her achievements and involvement in the community.

Wood will receive the 2013 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship at the senior

 

 


Sandy T. Tucker, Legal Counsel of the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee and the representative of the Suffolk Foundation, presenting the 2013 Award to Casey Jade Wood.

 



Mast Memorial Scholarship Awardee Casey Jade Wood with Sandy Tucker and with Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee Chair Bill Peachy and Selection Committee members Michelle Waller and Robert Blair (Blair chairs the Fundraising Committee).
 


 



2012 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Awardee

Elizabeth B. Dolan, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy

Elizabeth B. Dolan, senior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, will receive the 2012 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship in a ceremony at the school on Wednesday, May 23 rd at 10:00 A.M.

The Suffolk Foundation is pleased to announce the 2012 recipient of the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship (HMMS) is Elizabeth Bartlett Dolan, a Nansemond-Suffolk Academy graduate. Her mother is Elizabeth Brothers Dolan. They reside in Suffolk.

In making the selection, the committee reviewed the applicant’s academic performance, extracurricular activities, character, and recommendations. The selection committee was especially impressed with Elizabeth’s ability to participate in numerous athletic activities, particularly field hockey and lacrosse, and maintain exceptional academic success.

In both field hockey and lacrosse she was named to the 1stTeam All TCIS this past year. She was able to balance her extremely challenging course of studies, participate in athletic activities, and find time to organize and found NSA’s Schools-for-Schools Club Chapter. She volunteered her time and talents in supporting many civic and community projects and activities. In reviewing Elizabeth’s essay it was obvious that she is a firm believer in Mr. Mast’s philosophy that “nothing worthwhile can be gained without dedication and hard work. The committee felt that Elizabeth demonstrated this attribute which was easily identified by her member ship in the National Honor Society, maintaining a 4.0 Grade Point Average, being selected as the Wendy’s Heisman School Female recipient, and by being honored by the Suffolk Art Museum for her excellence in Poetry. The $2,500 scholarship will be sent directly to the University of Richmond, where Elizabeth will be attending next year, to assist with tuition or other university fees.

Congratulations to Elizabeth B. Dolan, who has demonstrated that “nothing worthwhile can be gained without dedication and hard work”. The Suffolk Foundation and the Howard D. Mast Scholarship Committee wishes her well in all her future endeavors.
 



2011 Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Awardee

Taylor Anne Young, Lakeland High School

The Suffolk Foundation is pleased to announce the 2011 recipient of the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship (HMMS) is Taylor Anne Young, a senior at Lakeland High School and daughter of Sandra Young.

This years scholarship presentation was made during the school's senior award night by Mr. Robert Blair, who is a Suffolk native, now living in Washington, DC. He learned tennis through Mr. Mast's program and was asked by the Suffolk Foundation to present the scholarship to Taylor on their behalf. Mr. Blair was one of the individuals who was instrumental in organizing the fundraising efforts to initiate the HMMS. The HMMS selection committee is made up of Mr. Bill Peachy, chairman, Mr. Tommy Bell, Mr. Robert Blair, Mrs. Mary Louise Darnell, Mr. Donnie Goldberg, Mr. Tommy Bell, Mr. Sandy Tucker, and Ms. Michelle Waller, all who were positively influenced by Mr. Mast in one way or the other.

In making the selection, the committee reviewed the applicant's academic performance, extracurricular activities, character, and recommendations and recommended to the Suffolk Foundation's distribution committee, Taylor Young receive the $2,500 scholarship. The Suffolk Foundation's distribution committee unanimously approved the HMMS selection committee's recommendation.

Taylor will be attending Christopher Newport University, where she will continue to participate in her favorite sport, field hockey. Taylor wrote in her essay how Mr. Mast had directly influenced her not only on the tennis court, but helped mold her into the person she is today. She felt that he would have been proud of her hard work, both in school and on the athletic field, which has led her to have the opportunity to go to college and continue to participate in athletics.

To be eligible to receive the HMMS, the individual must meet the following criteria:

have financial need
participated in athletics in youth and/or school programs
exhibited strong moral character

The HMMS selection committee and the Foundation's distribution committee
felt Taylor Young best exemplified the scholarship's criteria and was most
deserving of the 2011 scholarship. We wish her the best in all she undertakes.


PREVIOUS AWARDEES

2008 - Juan Lascano, Nansemond River High School;
2009 - Daria Godunova, Nansemond River High School;
2010 - Rebecca Jean Warren, Lakeland High School;
2011 - Taylor Anne Young, Lakeland High School
2012 - Elizabeth Brothers Dolan, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy
2013 - Casey J. Wood, Nansemond River High School
 

SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS

 

Scholarship applications will be available at all public and private high schools in the City of Suffolk no later than February 1st.  Anyone home schooled or currently enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university in the United States may request an application by email to bhill@suffolkfoundation.org or by mail to Suffolk Foundation, C/O William Hill, 1426 Holland Rd. Suffolk, VA 23434. The applications may also be downloaded from the Foundation’s Website (www.suffolkfoundation.org) or www.howardmastscholarship.com/application.htm.  All scholarship applications must be either postmarked, returned to the school counselor, or hand-delivered to the Foundation Office at 1426 Holland Rd., Suffolk, VA by 4 p.m. on April 1st .  Anyone with questions may email to the above address or call (757) 923 – 9090.

 

Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Committee Member Tommy Bell was inducted into the Gardner-Webb University Athletic Hall of Fame   for his service to the University and his tennis career at Gardner Webb.

"All of Tommy's fellow Committee Members join in congratulating him on this wonderful achievement. We know Mr. Mast would be as proud as we are. Tommy, well done!!"

 
 


Mast scholarship applications available

By Allison T. Williams

Saturday, February 23, 2008 6:26 PM CST
Howard Mast spent his life teaching generations of Suffolk children, both on and off the tennis court.

Now, nearly two years after his death, he will continue molding the lives of the young people in Suffolk through a scholarship fund established in his memory.

The newly established Suffolk Foundation Inc. will be awarding the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship to a college-bound student later this year. The $2,500 scholarship will come from the more than $100,000 donated in memory of Mast, who was the city's first parks and recreation director, said Billy Hill, the foundation's executive director.

Mast, who died in October 2006 at age 89, was an avid tennis player and instructor. He developed the city's first tennis program, organized the Suffolk Tennis Association and was coaching Nansemond River High School's tennis team when he died.
"He profoundly affected the lives of countless young people in their development as tennis players, as athletes in other sports and as good citizens of the community," Hill said. "For decades, he served as a mentor, teacher, coach and friend to countless citizens."

Scholarship applications will be available at all the city's public and private high schools after March 1. The completed forms have to be returned to the school guidance counselors or the Suffolk Foundation, 1426 Holland Road, by 4 p.m. April 30.

The scholarship is open to any graduating senior from any high school or any accredited home-school program in the city, as well as former graduates now enrolled in college.

For more information, call Hill at 923-9090 or at bhill@suffolkfoundation.org.

To Download Application
CLICK HERE

 

 


 

 
 ''I don’t care how old I am. I’m purposely not slowing down,’’ said Howard Mast, who coaches boys tennis at Nansemond River High School.















L.TODD SPENCER/ THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT

A first time for everything for
88-year-old Suffolk tennis coach

 

By PAUL WHITE, The Virginian-Pilot
© May 9, 2006

SUFFOLK - One of these days, Howard Mast insists he'll start acting his age.

Shuffleboard will have to wait , though. There are still forehands to fix, backhands to break down, serves to service.

Even at 88 , Suffolk's stroke doctor is still open for business.

Mast's shingle currently hangs over the Nansemond River High School tennis courts, where the wily octogenarian is completing his first year in charge of the Warriors' boys tennis program.

Mast doesn't run much on the court; he leaves that to his beloved black-and-white beagle Maggie. Nor does he actually play . He hasn't hit a ball competitively since the 1960s.

At first, the players didn't know what to make of Mast.

'I'm like, 'I wonder who that guy is?' ' Jason Taylor, the Warriors' No. 1 player, said upon seeing his new coach at the team's first practice. "Then I was like, 'You gotta be kidding me.' '

Mast never cracked a smile. Instead, he began delivering a technique mantra borne of more than 50 years of coaching - find the proper grip, prepare for the shot early and, above all, move those feet.

The players admit they resisted at first - until they won three of their first four matches. It began to dawn on them that maybe the old guy knows what he's talking about.

"I guess it is kind of shocking,' Taylor said. "But I figured he's already taught some of the best in the area. I'm sure he can teach me, too.'

Mast didn't actually invent the game of tennis. It probably just seems that way to the thousands of Suffolk residents he introduced to the sport since he first smacked a forehand while trying to impress a girl more than 60 years ago.

"When was World War II?' Mast said. "OK, so it must have been 1942. Well, she was a pretty girl, so I said I'll try. And that was it.'

Tennis was hardly Mast's sport of choice. He loved baseball and basketball. He played tailback at Virginia Tech in 1937. That same year, he set a Hokies record in the quarter-mile, a mark that stood for more than 20 years.

Yet something about tennis appealed to Mast, so much so that, upon taking over the Suffolk Parks and Recreation Department in 1952, he decided to start a program to teach the sport.

Since he had no clue about proper technique, Mast asked a friend at the University of Michigan for help. The friend sent him reams of instructional material.

"I'll never forget the guy who sent it to me,' Mast said. "He said you're about to get involved in the best sport that's ever been invented. And you know, he was right.'

Armed with his pamphlets, Mast spent the '50s developing a host of quality players who formed the nucleus of teams that won six consecutive state boys championships at the old Suffolk High.

"I inherited those players,' said Bill Peachey, who coached five of the title-winning squads. "Howard's the one who really got them started.'

One of his later disciples, Craig Rice, is a teaching pro in Hilton Head, S.C. Even today, players taught by Mast are sprinkled on teams throughout Suffolk - four on the King's Fork girls squad, two with the King's Fork boys, four more with Lakeland's girls.

Mast is a 1995 inductee into the Mid-Atlantic Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame, and his name is so synonymous with tennis in Suffolk that the complex where the Southeastern District tournament is held bears his name.

For all his impact, though, Mast never had coached a high school team.

Then last winter he learned that Nansemond River was in desperate need of a coach.

Only one candidate applied after longtime coach Wayne Godette stepped down, and that candidate withdrew after a last-minute change of heart.

'Someone mentioned it to me, and I kind of liked the idea,' Mast said.

Days before the first practice, Mast agreed to step in.

"I'd heard about him - everybody around here has,' athletic director Phil Braswell said. "But when he walked into my office, I about fell out of my chair. Then he told me how old he was. I was like, 'You gotta be kidding me.' '

Apparently they say that a lot in Suffolk. But Mast eliminates a lot of disbelief by making few concessions to his age.

He still tools around Suffolk in his green van. He wakes up at 4:45 each morning and has had breakfast, read the paper and enjoyed a brisk walk with Maggie before most of his students have had their first class.

"I guess the only real difference is I played football as a 165-pound tailback, and I'm about 145 now,' Mast said. "And I used to be 5-10. I'm 5-9 now, so I'm shortening up.'

Mast even showed his football toughness when, while walking behind a court, he got flattened by Warriors player Andrae Riddick, who was chasing a stray ball. Mast simply picked himself up, stuffed the ballcap back on his head and continued walking.

"I hit him pretty good, but it didn't seem to matter,' Riddick said. 'He doesn't really act like he's that old.'

Still, Mast's transition wasn't completely smooth. Godette, to whom many of the players remain loyal, was a 30-something man willing and able to get out on the court and swat balls with the players. Mast is more of a stickler on technique and the proper grip, occasionally feeding balls but more often watching from the sideline or from his van.

The players chafed at Mast's favorite serve-and-return drill, a monotonous staple of each practice. And it rankled them that, after the team got off to a 3-1 start, Mast seemed to be getting too much credit.

"I'm not saying he's a bad person. He's a really good person,' Riddick said. "But it's not like he's doing that much. The way some of us see it, it's almost like he's just the person that's out here so we can have a team.'

Mast even had to stem a near revolt because of an ill-timed comment prior to a match against defending district champ Great Bridge.

After dutifully announcing the starting lineups, Mast turned to Wildcats coach Matt Graham and remarked, "I hope you don't beat us too badly.'

Mast claims the line was part joke, part reverse psychology to feed the powerful Wildcats' ego . But Mast's players took it as the ultimate insult from the one man who should have had their backs.

'I went, 'What?' ' Riddick said. 'I mean, if our own coach didn't believe in us. ... After he said that, everybody pretty much gave up.'

The 9-0 score indicated as much.

Riddick was so upset he called his mother, who showed up at the match and let Mast know what she thought.

'She gave me an earful,' Mast said. "But I took it. You never argue with someone's mother.'

Players and coach then met privately . Mast continued to insist he was just joking, but apologized if anyone took it the wrong way.

'The thing I remember is they really played great the next day,' Mast said. "And I complimented them on it.'

Other times, Mast has known just the right thing to say.

After noticing Devern Williams struggling with his serve against Lafayette, Mast suggested a grip change. Williams resisted - until he lost the first set. He took Mast's advice and began bombing deliveries en route to a three-set victory.

"I said, 'Are you a believer now?' ' Mast said. "He goes, 'I am. I am.' '

But perhaps the biggest benefactor has been Mast himself. A year ago, his wife of 63 years, Cleo, lost her bout with colon cancer.

"When someone's been a part of your life that long, it kind of works on you,' Mast said. "It helps to keep busy. So I don't care how old I am. I'm purposely not slowing down.'

·  Reach Paul at 757-446-2630 or paul.white@pilotonline.com
 


 

The Suffolk Tennis Association and
City of Suffolk Parks and
Recreation Department will be hosting
 
The HOWARD D. MAST
 



 
Memorial Spring Tennis Day
Saturday, April 28, 2007

12 noon - 4 pm
 

…there will be good food, fun, tennis and a special memorial ceremony to unveil granite benches in memory of
 
Howard & Cleo Mast.
 
So dust off your lawn chairs, tennis rackets and come out for an afternoon of fun. Please bring the kids. If you are interested in helping, planning, attending or sponsoring this event please call (757) 934-7822 or post your name and contact information in our
 
Guestbook. We will be able to respond and keep you informed of the special day.
Rain Location :  King's Fork High School
 

 


 

 


 

Mast’s ideals alive

in today’s players
Suffolk legend
keeps on teaching
city’s youngsters


By Jim McConnell
Sports Editor

Suffolk Tennis Association instructor Howard Mast has been teaching tennis in the city for so long that he has children of his former students now studying at his side. Two of his prize pupils, Terry Pringle and Angela Jones, are now starring for the Lakeland girls’ tennis team, but they got their starts with mast. 

TENNIS

 That Pringle ( Lakeland’s number-one player) even started playing tennis was something of an accident.
            “I used to live downtown by the Suffolk High tennis courts. One day I was walking home and I saw Mr. Mast teaching (teammate) Jennifer (Riddick) and I thought it looked like fun, so I asked if I could play,” Pringle said.
            The rest was history. While Pringle is now a senior and heading into her final season of prep tennis before moving on to college, freshman Jones has four full varsity seasons to improve on a already-solid game.
As long as she doesn’t get stubborn and refuse to listen to her coach, Mast said.
            “She’s finally decided to do what she is taught,” Mast said. “I put them in clinics where they learn to teach the game and they end up teaching themselves in the process.”
            The 75-year old Mast may have a lot more tennis experience than Jones and Pringle combined, but they do have a lot in common. None of them like to be sitting still.
            “I can’t sit down because when you’re my age and you’re sitting down, it’s not too much longer before you’re laying down for good,” Mast said.
            Both Pringle and Jones agree with that philosophy.
            “I have to always be on the go,” Pringle said. “I can’t ever just sit around the house and do nothing.”
            “I’ve gotta be doing something with sports,” Jones added. “Even if it’s just watching it on TV, it’s gotta be sports.”
            According to Mast, being interested you is one of the keys to the sport of tennis. Especially since he hasn’t changed his style of teaching much over the years. If you want to learn tennis, Howard Mast is the right man for the job. If you want to goof off, don’t do it on his courts.
            “A good tennis player is made of interested parents and effective teaching. We stress court conduct and I don’t have any problem calling someone out or telling their parents if they’re acting up on the court,” he said. ‘But the parents have to take an interest to keep the kids coming back sometimes.”
            Mast hasn’t had to worry about that with either Pringle or Jones. He wishes he had more boys in the STA program, however.
            “Most of the top players in Suffolk have come through the STA but we’re only getting the girls now,” Mast said. “Our biggest problem is a lack of boys.”
            Maybe the boys are afraid to play against such talented girls. With players like Pringle hitting rocket shots off the lines, they might not stand much of a chance of winning.
            For such a talented player, she doesn’t seem to think as highly of her own game as others do. It only takes a little while on the court with her to know she’s underestimating herself.
            “I need to work on consistency and on my backhand,” Pringle said. Yeah right, Jones said. “She really needs to get more consistent. All she does is beat everyone she plays,” she said.
            Players like Pringle and Jones are what keeps Mast chugging along despite contemporary wisdom that says he should stop and smell the roses. He doesn’t seem to be much of a flower-type, anyhow.
            “When I see someone like Terry get a scholarship it makes it worth it for me.” he said. “I also can look back on all the players I’ve coached and feel good.”
            Some of whom even Mast didn’t think would turn out to be as good as they have. After all, even the best make mistakes sometimes.
            “We’ve had some players who I didn’t think would ever be that good and they’ve turned out really well.” Mast said. “That’s why I stay in it.”

 

 

 

 
 
 

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