Published by Cobram Courier online on December 16, 2013.
This article also appeared in print on December 11.
After more than two decades and hundreds of students, Cobram tennis coach Peter Morgan is retiring.
Morgan joined Cobram Lawn Tennis Club in 1991 after a professional career in Australia and overseas.
The journey began in Melbourne during the 1950s when Morgan was aged 11, eventually graduating to play state grade in Victoria.
He competed in Singapore, Russia, Egypt, and countries throughout Europe during the 1960s.
He said the most memorable part of his world tour was winning the North England Championships.
But due to a tennis injury before he moved to Cobram, Morgan has never competed locally.
There is a running joke between club members that he’s just afraid of being beaten.
‘‘I’ve been beaten in 21 countries, I didn’t want to add Cobram as well,’’ Morgan said.
Although Morgan moved to Cobram to retire, a twist of fate put him at the heart of the Murray Valley tennis community.
Cobram Lawn Tennis Club president Peter Beasley said ‘Morgs’ had a huge impact on the entire community.
Morgan’s list of students included Beasley’s three children: Sam, 14, Harry, 11, and Jack, 9.
‘‘They would always come home with a smile on their face or a funny story to tell or $1.50 in their pocket from games they’d play after training,’’ Beasley said.
But when it came to the more serious side of the sport, his students’ results spoke for themselves.
Nick Fenaughty, 20, has won competitions throughout Australia, and in the United States and Fiji.
The two have developed a close friendship since Morgan began coaching him about 10 years ago.
‘‘If I’m playing in Yarrawonga, I’ll drop past on the way home — they’ll have dinner cooked for me,’’ Fenaughty said.
He estimated Morgan travelled more than 100km some weeks to coach students in Cobram, Finley, Katamatite and Strathmerton.
Morgan said he would miss working with his tennis students, and had a feeling he might still give the occasional tennis lesson.
‘‘I enjoy the banter with kids and I particularly enjoy coaching those who are not particularly good but who work very hard and finish up being quite capable tennis players,’’ he said.
‘‘They’re the ones you get most satisfaction out of.’’
Beasley and Fenaughty said Morgan’s departure would be felt throughout the club.
‘‘They’re going to initially struggle to find someone to immediately fill the role,’’ Morgan said.
‘‘But after a while that won’t be an issue.
‘‘But you never know — if they can’t find somebody, maybe I’ll have to end up coming back.’’