John Habeeb of Caribou has spent most of his life teaching and playing tennis. Habeeb will be honored on Sunday as a Maine Sports Legend for his work teaching the game of tennis to thousands of youngsters in the City.
Habeeb:" It is quite an honor to receive induction into the Hall of Legends. I give most of the credit to the kids who played for me in the past and play for me today."
Habeeb has spent over 4 decades playing and teaching the game to youngsters
Habeeb:" I played for four years in High School and played four years at USM. I came back home in the summer and got a job at the Recreation Department. I think that was the beginning of a great future for Caribou tennis. 35 years at the park level and 31 as varsity tennis coach."
Habeeb ran the summer tennis program in Caribou for many years and always had dozens of youngsters wanting to learn to play
Habeeb:" I have always encouraged the kids to play tennis not just on a competitive level. It is a great lifetime sport. No matter what city you go to there will be tennis courts and it is a great way to meet people."
Habeeb has guided the Caribou tennis teams to a lot of success, both teams won Regional Championships this past year and the boys won the State Championship their second during the coach's career. The Girls have been very successful they have won 11 Regional title and won four straight States from 1992 to 95. One of the biggest additions during his coaching tenure were the new tennis courts built at the High School.
Habeeb:" I think we wanted to have tennis courts at the High School for a long time. I think it was a project that Dwight Hunter wanted to see happen. We formed a committee and made a grass roots effort to try and build our own tennis courts. We got a big grant from the USTA and a lot of local businesses chipped in. Carl Soderberg was instrumental with the equipment."
The long time coach says that watching the kids grow and continue to play tennis is very rewarding
Habeeb:" I have seen if over and over again. Time goes by fast, it may not seem that way from a kid level, but from my level I get them at 5 years old and if they chose the competitive route I see them in High School."
He says that he will be thinking of a lot of people when his name is announced on Sunday.
Habeeb:" I might be a little nervous, but I will have a lot of people to thank who helped me get to this position."
Two other County people will be recognized on Sunday. Dick Cormer will be honored posthumously and Mark Rossignol is also being inducted.