Few coaches in the history of KTown sports garner more respect and genuine love than Harry Stoebe. The man was an institution on the North Side. Respected educator and coach, Harry was and is everything good about the North Side. A classic example of a guy that was there for people. All kinds of people from all walks of life. I’ve NEVER heard one person ever say one negative word about Harry Stoebe. I was not a Bradford guy so I knew of Harry, but I did not know Harry til a little later on down the road. Harry’s game is always ON…and I don’t care which of the games we are talking about…Pickleball…The Game of Life…Tennis…The changing of the game on Friday nights and the never ending game of personal relationships. Harry is always ready to engage.
When you coach high school kids for 25 years you are either born to do so or you really need, what probably added up to about .37 cents an hour, real bad. Tennis is tactical. You can close gaps by being on top of the thinking part of the game. In high school sports, you kinda get what you get and there may be a year where you have a ton of athletes that know the sport. Then you are coaching to individual strengths. And then when the talent pool thins, you can go more holistic and drill the basics and raise the IQ level a few notches. And that’s why Harry is gold. He’s a great “big picture”, rally the troops, all-for-one, leader. But he is also GREAT just talking to you face to face.
And as is usually the case with individuals from our parent’s era, genuine humility is a constant in The Greatest Generation. I’ve never seen Harry “holding court”. He wouldn’t be the guy at a family party talking about winning the Sr. Olympics…he’d be talking to you in private telling you about what he’s doing next. He doesn’t spend a lot of time on where he’s been. Leaders never need to tell you they are leaders. And sometimes those that excel at their profession but don’t spend time advertising can spend far too long with far less than earned appreciation. Harry would be the first guy to tell you “I know I’m appreciated” and mean it. Many of the people that take the time to read this will say, “I love Coach Stoebe”.
So congrats to The Legend, Harry Stoebe on your induction into the Wisconsin High School Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame. A well-deserved honor. Harry has been a Hall of Famer around here for decades! And when my friend John discusses his pops, it’s usually “Harry and Nancy”….equal legend. I’m lucky to know most of the Harry and Nancy extended family, each a living legacy to one of the greats…two of the greats actually. Take a bow Coach Stoebe…now the rest of the state knows what folks in KTown have always known. Harry Stoebe is a legend.