Coach Menn taught tennis skills, life values


Coach Menn, top left, along with the last tennis team he served as head coach. Mr. Mota, top right, took over after Coach Menn left.

On February 14th, Caravan coach Tom Menn died at the age of 90. Menn played a huge role as a tennis coach for the Caravan. “He was very patient and he loved teaching tennis to anyone who wanted to learn,” said Antonio Mota, who played for Menn and later coached with him for nine years.

Menn did not attend Mount Carmel, but according to Mota, “loved Mount Carmel and treated it like his home.” He often could be seen in the Commons after school talking to students while waiting for his team to assemble for practice.

The University of Notre Dame was another of Menn’s great loves.   But even while visiting the South Bend campus, MC was never far from his mind.  Before going to Notre Dame Stadium for a football game, Menn would spend a few minutes at the “Our Lady of Mount Carmel bench” which sits not far from the Golden Dome.

Menn had a passion for Notre Dame football, and attended over 300 consecutive home games between 1955 and the recent past.  His family members knew they would have to arrange important life events like weddings around the Irish football schedule if they wanted Menn to be with them.

Before Mota started playing tennis for MC, he had never picked up a racket. By the end of his sophomore year he had placed 5th in the CCL singles, a rapid development he attributes to is coach.

“This was largely to Coach Menn.  His teaching style came so naturally and it felt easy,” Mota said.

But Menn taught more than the skills that would lead to success on the court.  His real focus was on the values his players could learn through the sport.

Mota explained that traditionally, tennis scores were called by the players, so honesty was mandatory, at least for his coach.  “Coach Menn encouraged his players to be the most honest and best persons that they could be.”

Coach Menn was a true Man of Carmel and will be missed by his Caravan family.