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Stewart “Stew” Stearns

Black-and-white photo of man smiling wearing light polo shirt

Stewart “Stew” Stearns

Stewart Stearns came to South Glens Falls in 1958, joining the faculty of the then Junior-­‐Senior High School as a social studies teacher at the junior high school level. His entire teaching tenure at the school remained at that level. His calm, patient, organized and methodical teaching manner served him and the school well, acting as an effective antidote and tranquilizer to the unpredictability, erratic behavior and restlessness of many early teens.

Stew had earned degrees from Dartmouth College (undergraduate) and Boston University (graduate) and had also served in the United States Army for three years prior to coming to South Glens Falls. In addition to his teaching credentials, he brought a lifetime passion for tennis to South Glens Falls and, indeed, the area.

Appointed the school tennis coach in addition to his teaching assignment, Stew Stearns set about the task of re-‐shaping a moribund tennis program. The results were more than merely successful; he established and maintained heights of school tennis achievement that were unparalleled at the school and throughout the area. During his coaching tenure, he won consecutive Northern Conference championships from 1960 through 1967, his teams being undefeated in the league in each of those years. He also captured one Section II team championship and was sectional runner-­up once.

He also produced impressive numbers of superlative tennis players, some of whom continued in his footsteps as outstanding coaches and tennis teachers. They include Larry Smith, Ken Zacharias, Rich Johns, Bud Smith, Terry Combs and Mike Shea, to mention only a few.

His promotion of tennis was not limited to high school coaching. He served as Section II Tennis Chairman, overseeing the sport at the sectional level. He taught adult education tennis, and was an “all comers” promoter of the sport, encouraging anyone whom he could enlist to embrace the activity as a life-­‐long route to fitness, recreation and positive personal relationships. He also served as Tennis Director at the Glens Falls Tennis and Swim Club, an outdoor facility.

In 1974, Stew relinquished his teaching position to realize his lifetime dream: to manage and teach at a tennis center. He and a partner erected and opened such a facility on Glenwood Avenue in Queensbury, and this enabled him to teach and direct tennis programs on a full-­‐time basis. Not surprisingly, he developed extensive programs for youth, gave lessons to everyone from beginners to accomplished players and continued his promotion of tennis.

Ill health eventually robbed him of his grip on a racquet and his place on a tennis court, but his contributions to the sport have been indelible and enduring for the countless many that share and benefit from his endeavors.

Stew and Tina had two daughters, Chrissy (Mike Drescher) and Sarah (Chandler Harris), and two granddaughters, Sunny and Carrie.