Valdosta Daily Times

Local Sports

November 13, 2012

VSU tennis coach Hansen honored at Blazer Raiser event

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State tennis team hosted its fourth annual Blazer Raiser last weekend, and celebrated more than just a successful fundraiser.  

The Blazer Raiser consisted of a VSU tennis player auction on Friday at the American Legion in Valdosta. Community members could bid on and buy a player to be their partner for the mixed doubles tournament that took place on Saturday at the university tennis courts.

“It’s amazing the number of people who have supported it and (came) out to play,” Valdosta State head coach John Hansen said. “Fortunately, they have a lot of fun, so they keep coming back.”

Eight men and eight women players were auctioned, and the highest bidder received a $1,000 Girardin Jewelers gift certificate.

The mixed doubles tournament was in round robin format.  Jimmy Miller and his partner Michelle Fischer made it to the finals, but were defeated by two past VSU players. Derrick Racine, West Florida men’s head coach, and his partner Chan Dixon, who played on the team from 1977-81, took the championship title.  

This year, Hansen is celebrating his 40th year of coaching at Valdosta State. The loyal supporters came back, along with many of Hansen’s past players to honor his achievements.  

Before the Friday night bidding began, a presentation was held in Hansen’s honor. Two former players and graduate assistants, Sachin ‘Shaq’ Kirtane and Racine, shared memories and gratitude for their mentor.

VSU President Dr. William J. McKinney presented Hansen, who led the men’s team to national championships in 2006 and 2011, with a framed proclamation from Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle and Senator Tim Golden, which was to “commend and honor Coach John Hansen for his highest standards of excellence as an outstanding coach and educator.”

While eight men and eight women players were auctioned off, there was a twist. Kirtane and Racine were also auctioned off at Friday’s event. It was the first-ever Blazer Raiser they had attended.

“I love the fact that the community is so involved in it, and just to see the love that people have for Coach Hansen,” Kirtane said. “I think it’s great for not only Valdosta State tennis, but the university as a whole.”

Hansen looks forward to more Blazer Raisers in the future, as he continues to lead the Blazer teams towards conference, regional and national championships.

“We try to keep people involved in the tennis program and make them actually feel like they are a part of what’s going on,” Hansen said. “Without them, we have no success.”

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0728-Lowndes practice4.jpg Vikings working out with padded practice, scrimmage on the horizon

    The look was familiar Monday at Martin Stadium.
    The Lowndes High football team’s conditioning practice was essentially a duplicate of the workouts the Vikings have completed throughout the summer.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thomasville_Ryals.jpg South Georgia special for high school coaches

    Phillip Johnson remembers when he had a “Wizard of Oz” moment.
    The North Carolina native moved to Georgia when he was 26 and Johnson, now Lanier County’s second-year head coach, recalls a 7-on-7 tournament leading to the realization that he wasn’t in Kansas — or in his case, North Carolina — anymore.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nolin settling in as new VSU soccer coach

    Meet Rebecca Nolin, VSU's new soccer coach.

    July 28, 2014

  • Induction Crowd: Honorees were genuine, down to earth

    More than 48,000 people gathered under the scorching sun at The Clark Sports Center for the 75th National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Sunday, including one woman who carpooled to the event with more than 40 other people.

    July 28, 2014

  • Braves trio all business at inductions

    The Braves seemed almost businesslike in their approach -- something you might expect from a trio that won so consistently.
    Managers Joe Torre and Tony La Russa also remained calm and collected throughout their addresses.
    Frank Thomas took care of the emotional side, his voice breaking and his eyes moist during a heartfelt speech Sunday at the Clark Sports Center.

    July 28, 2014

  • Cooperstown Merchants: Weekend was a success

    Cooperstown merchants are elated about the exceptionally prosperous Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, several storekeepers said Sunday.

    During an afternoon lull in business, when the National Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony was taking place, area shop and restaurant owners took a quick breath, reflected and expressed satisfaction with their sales for the weekend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall of Famers thank fathers for stepping up to the plate

    Great ballplayers thanking their dads at a Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is about as original as oil and vinegar are to an Italian restaurant.

    July 28, 2014

  • Hall_Maddux.jpg Hall of Braves

    The weird part was that Jeff Idelson didn't take a lot of time to answer.
    "Is there any word or description that unifies this class?" was the query posed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame's president.
    "The common thread among the six is profound humility," Idelson said of former managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, and former players Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, all of whom will be inducted into the Hall today. "I don't think I realized that fully until I spent time with them in December. It was uncanny to me, for the cumulative star power in that group, the humility among them. I think that's felt really strongly with baseball fans."

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • Hall_Cox.jpg Cox’s willingness to defend players stands out to local coaches

    Bobby Cox will be able to add Hall of Famer to his resume when he is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame today in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    But the former Atlanta Braves manager’s legacy will remain the same to area baseball coaches: his willingness to defend his players.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Valwood_Henderson.jpg Area teams hoping to get over the hump

    Past successes lead to present and future expectations.
    That’s the task faced by pretty much all 12 area high school football coaches present Saturday at In The Game Magazine’s South Georgia Football media day at the Holiday Inn conference center.
    It’s a task that also has the elite group searching for answers as to how to get past the state championship road block in recent years, aside from Valwood’s GISA Class AA crown in 2012.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

Blazers Blog