Mastain ready to lead storied tennis team
Schuyler "Scooter" Mastain is a young guy trying to build high ideals.
The 2000 graduate of Park City High School was recently hired as the new boys head tennis coach, and has since been working hard to give the boys what he feels are important elements of the game.
"I’m building confidence and skills together," Mastain said.
Mastain wasn’t always on the coaching track. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, he headed to Los Angeles to try and pursue an acting career. After spending months waiting tables and for his big break, he decided that he wanted to help people, not just himself.
In fact, the opportunity to coach came about through his desire to give something back to people. After moving back to Park City last year, he began a long-term substuitute teaching position at Treasure Mountain International School and fell in love with the idea of working with kids and giving back to the community.
"I look at working with youth as invigorating," Mastain said.
So much so that he is looking at the graduate teaching certification programs at Westminster College and the University of Utah. After making that decision, it seemed only natural to pursue the Park City coaching position. When former head coach Warren Pretorius decided to retire, he, along with Park City High School parent Wendy Clark, thought of Mastain as perfect heir to the dynasty. He was working in the schools and he seemed to have the energy necessary to handle the team.
"I was flattered," Mastain said.
Handling the Miners is no easy task. Even with much of the starting lineup now playing at Division I colleges, the team is still stocked with talent and the schedule is full of teams that consistently finish tops in the state. Luckily, Mastain understands the intangibles that go along with Park City tennis.
Mastain’s senior year at Park City was the start of the Miners’ dynasty that has dominated the state tennis championships. Although he enjoyed only one state title, he prides himself on being a part of the team that started the legacy. It also gives him a strong sense of what it means to play tennis at Park City. As a student of Pretorius, he said he had the opportunity to learn strategy and skill from one of the best and hopes to continue that in his own tenure.
Some of Mastain’s goals include building the boys’ sportsmanship while also enhancing their skills. He emphasizes gentlemanliness and chivalry as characteristics he hopes the boys will attain. He is focused on building life skills things that will help them win games and then take off the court and into real life.
He hopes to continue to enhance the boys’ talents. Although most of them have grown up on the court, Mastain wants to ensure that they know the right moves to use when they step onto the playing field.
Mastain moved to Park City from Pasadena, Calif., as a teenager already having devoted much of his young life to honing his tennis game. Although he didn’t play in college he has always tried to be a student of the game.
This years team is in what might be called a "rebuilding year," but Mastain refuses to look at things that way. He says he has confidence in this year’s best singles players, like twins Taylor and Tyson Smith, and promising underclassmen like Sam Miller and Jack Burrus. He is also excited to see how things pan out in the starting doubles spots. He says there are between six and 12 junior varsity players that are hungry to earn a spot on the varsity roster.
Even with a less-experienced team, Mastain says that the goal for the Miners is still the state title. He made sure to keep all the best teams on the schedule and encourages the boys to believe they can win any match.
"In every match, that’s the goal to win state," Mastain said. "The boys have good enough skills."
He also encourages a positive attitude in practices and games. He hopes that by instilling a sense of esteem and confidence in the boys it will help them have a positive approach to the game.
The boys will begin their quest to maintain the dynasty this Thursday at Skyline, one of the tougher teams in the state.
Mastain isn’t worried.
"Every team, every set, every match is important," Mastain said. "Every team is a team to respect and compete against. We’re going in there to win. If you play to do well, you win."
The Miners face the Skyline Eagles Thursday, March 8 at 3 p.m. in Salt Lake.
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Buses, trains and gondolas doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but they make up the transit alternatives for the mountain transportation system the Central Wasatch Commission is trying to create, mostly in the Cottonwood canyons.