Mrs. Eagles Tennis


David Nagy, Reporter

Maria Strafford has led the John Adams tennis programs for eight years, winning several tournaments and invites with both the boys and girls teams. Maria’s hard work and ability to foster an exceptional team culture have earned her a 2020 Northern Indiana Conference Coach of the Year award and the respect of the high school tennis community along the way. In her tenure at Adams, Coach Maria has built the tennis teams into formidable competitors while establishing a reputation of humility, good sportsmanship, and grace in both winning and losing.

Maria started coaching girls tennis in the spring of 2014 when the team needed someone to take the role. After the boys tennis coach had to step away for personal reasons that fall, she assumed the added responsibility of leading the team until another coach could be found. The right person for the job turned out to be Coach Maria herself, whose high standards of respect and integrity motivated players to become the best versions of themselves on and off the court. The skill she brought to the job is too good to replace and she continues to coach the boys team. 

 Coach Maria has had four children graduate from Adams, all tennis players, two of which she coached while they were at Adams. Her last child graduated in 2018,  but Maria has continued to give her time to the program in the years since. 

Last season, Ben Guerrero broke a massive barrier for Adams tennis by individually advancing past the twenty time back to back champion Penn team at sectionals. Ben played for four years under Coach Maria and together they challenged the toughest competition in the area. 

Providing constant help to Coach Maria is her sister, Coach Stephanie Holland, who has assisted Coach Maria since the beginning in 2014, along with Anne Chmiel who is in her fifth year with Adams tennis. Together Coach Steph and Coach Anne have provided countless hours of expertise and facilitation to help players advance their game in a healthy and supportive environment. The openness shown by the coaches and players has helped John Adams introduce tennis to a plethora of students who had not been given the opportunity to play before.