#2 | Blue KC Coaches with Character
Stu Reece, Lee’s Summit North tennis coach
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the “C” You in the Major Leagues Foundation have announced Lee’s Summit North tennis coach Stu Reece as the Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree for the month of May. A coaching career that has spanned nearly three decades, Reece has been blessed to have coached and mentored nearly 3,000 athletes in tennis, basketball and soccer in several different schools and youth organizations..
As the current head coach of the boys’ and girls’ tennis teams at Lee’s Summit North for the past 19 years, Reece strives to help his student-athletes find success both on and off the court. While he has seen great success from a tennis perspective, he takes the most pride in seeing his former players become highly successful adults once they graduate from Lee’s Summit North.
“One of my early mentors told me to not focus on what the athlete can do with the ball, but focus on how the ball can transform the athlete,” said Reece. “That advice has helped me keep winning and losing in perspective and continues to keep my focus on the true values of participating in school sports.”
Creating and maintaining a strong, uplifting culture has been a core value during Reece’s 29-year coaching career. One of the sayings he continually shares within his tennis program is that the score is always zero-zero. In sports, as well as life in general, nothing can be done about the past. Emphasizing the importance of living and focusing on the current moment and how it can shape the future, is the type of messaging that Reece enjoys sharing with his players.
“That philosophy has helped us pull off some incredible comebacks and upsets throughout the years,” said Reece. “It is also a reminder that we need to keep moving forward in life. Sports are an incredible laboratory, and the ability to set clear expectations helps student-athletes learn how to handle both the successes and failures with class.”
Reece exemplifies and encourages integrity on a daily basis. He helped create the ‘Code of Lee’s Summit North Tennis’ which creates a connection between the skills and values needed to be successful on the court, as well as an application to winning in everyday life.
Additionally, Reece enacted ‘Fun Tennis Fridays,’ which are designed to provide free tennis lessons for area youth. He has partnered with local elementary and middle schools to offer free clinics to strengthen the sport and get more children involved in tennis at a younger age. Reece has also helped to successfully change the Lee’s Summit North tennis program to a ‘no-cut’ sport and increased participation from just 20 girls to more than 70 each season.
“We also host the largest tennis tournament for beginners in the Midwest with more than 150 participants,” said Reece. “I have been blessed with incredible assistant coaches and players who have shared a vision to create new opportunities for kids to experience the wonderful sport of tennis.”
“Coach Reece is a passionate, hard-working and caring individual who has been such a pivotal piece of the Lee’s Summit North community,” said Royals President of Baseball Operations and C You in the Major Leagues Founder Dayton Moore. “As an ambassador for the sport of tennis, Coach Reece’s commitment to growing the sport and developing fun, creative ways to participate is evident through the numerous initiatives he’s helped create. We’re proud to highlight his accomplishments and know the student-athletes he’s worked with are thankful for his efforts. Congratulations Coach Reece on being named a Blue KC Coaches with Character honoree!”
“Coach Reece is a positive encourager of every player at every level,” said Reece’s nominator, Sarah Green. “He is well known for saying ‘one more ball’, and explaining that we should always be willing to put in more effort. He continually preaches to us to stay connected to our teammates and always cheer even if they’re playing eight courts down. Coach Reece has inspired thousands of kids and has encouraged many others to learn this great sport.”
“Coach Reece’s impact on his players and the Lee’s Summit community over several decades has been incredibly strong,” said Jenny Housley, Blue KC Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “By using sport as an incubator, he has built confident student-athletes who then grow into exceptional adults and leaders. The Blue KC Coaches with Character program strives to recognize coaches who go beyond their sport to inspire others and Coach Reece exemplifies everything this program seeks to honor.”