Taped to the door of McCallie's old John Strang Tennis Center on Friday morning was a small sign declaring "John Strang has left the building."
A closer look at the sidewalk leading from that building down Kyle Street away from the campus revealed a long trail of individually wrapped peppermints, which were the late Blue Tornado coaching legend's signature gift to any McCallie student who passed his way as he walked the campus.
Only this trail of candy led directly to the school's new Strang-Voges Tennis Center, which was dedicated Friday afternoon in honor of Strang and the current McCallie coach of 28 years, Eric Voges.
"When they told me in February what they were going to name it, I fell silent," Voges said following a ceremony that included every living Blue Tornado tennis coach. "It was very humbling. To have my name up there next to Yo's is quite an honor."
The school honored both coaches and numerous other McCallie tennis greats as it dedicated the $3 million indoor facility that includes six courts, a team locker room, a meeting room, coaches' offices, a kitchen, restrooms and locker area.
As retiring headmaster Kirk Walker said of Strang and Voges, "We've had tennis around here for 100 years, and those two are responsible for coaching 54 of them."
Strang and Voges also are responsible for eight McCallie state titles and winning over 73 percent of their matches.
Not that Voges wanted to talk much about the winning on Friday.
"I love the team atmosphere," he said. "This new building will continue to help boys of all levels be part of our tennis program. Whether you're the No. 1 player in the country or the No. 30 player on our team, this facility will allow us to impact more boys than we ever have before."
Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...
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