NEW ALBANY – With big shoes to fill, new New Albany head coach Suzy Bowman is ready.
“A great foundation has already been laid for me with the work put in by Coach Creekmore and before her Coach Judy Brown. And there are a great group of kids with lots of talent, and also there is a lot of talent coming up from the middle school,” Bowman said during her formal introduction at NAHS on Wednesday evening.
A Hickory Flat native, Bowman began playing tennis after marrying her husband, BNA Park Tennis Pro Bo Bowman, and moving to the coast.
“.I was an athlete growing up but tennis was never open to us. In Hickory Flat we never had it. So when I moved to the coast I picked the sport up quickly and got addicted to it,” Bowman said.
Bowman took her new hobby and earned a scholarship to return to college, playing tennis at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before embarking into teaching.
With junior teams, adult leagues, and private instruction under her belt, the head coaching position marks the first for Bowman.
“I’m just so excited about it, and the opportunity to get on the court with kids that I’ve seen playing, and to help them grow,” Bowman said.
The hire was described as the ‘right fit at the right time’ by New Albany High School Athletic Director Shane Sanderson during Wednesday’s press conference.
“She has been in our backyard, and to be able to hire someone with her passion and her attitude is just unreal,” Sanderson said.
“Tennis is important to us, so we didn’t want to just hire anybody. We went through the usual channels as we would for anything, but the feedback we’ve gotten on Suzy was just fantastic,” Sanderson said.
Bowman inherits a tennis program that captured its third consecutive state title in April, and the fourth in five years.
The Bulldogs tennis team saw five members graduate in May, leaving opportunities for a group of up and coming players to fill the gaps.
“There is tons of potential, so many up and coming young players in ninth grade and below that make the future of the program very bright,” Bowman said.
That future stretches even father than middle school and high school athletes – down to the ten and under crowd who are just beginning.
“In my time as an instructor at BNA I’ve seen so many kids who are just starting out. I know they will be a huge part of the program in the future,” Bowman said.