Personality Profile: tennis coach Eugene Brackley (Woody)

Lydia Podlesak, Lifestyles Editor

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Whether he is in the hallways using the zamboni, outside mowing the lawn, at the slopes of Mt.Holly or at the tennis courts coaching the teams, tennis coach Eugene Brackley—also known as Woody—- is willing to help anywhere to make the school a better place. With an energetic and goofy personality, Brackley is a lively addition to the FHS community.

“Woody is the type of guy that is willing to help anywhere he can,” assistant principal and athletic director Michael Baker said. “If you give him a task, he is certainly willing to jump on top of it and do it. He’s just an overall good guy. He wants to provide opportunities to students and see them be successful and wherever he can fit in to help, he’s there.”

Being at the school five days a week, Brackley is a part of the grounds crew staff during the day and puts on his coaching cap at night.

“I stated coaching here in 1991, 19, not 1891 [like some people think]. I coached the ski team here for twenty years before going to tennis. The exact year I started teaching sports was 1972, 19, not 1872, my background is from teaching ski and that lead me to coaching tennis. My favorite part about being at Fenton is probably being with these guys because it keeps me going and keeps me active,” Brackley said, motioning to his tennis girls.

Tennis player junior Eileen O’rourke describes Brackley as “eccentric” when recalling how interesting he makes practices.

“We’re his children,” O’rourke said. “He loves to sing; he sings all the time, especially Top Gun songs. He likes to hit the ‘woah’ during practice and several times a day. When he dances, it’s usually robotically, and when he’s introducing our team to the opposing team, he’ll just throw a ‘woah’ out there. He’s supportive during our matches and he’s a good coach.”

Speculation is towards the back of Brackley’s van, as he has a hanging rack and drawers in it. With a built in closet, Brackley’s van is distinguishable parked in the school parking lot.

“I can show you my closet. It’s my season on wheels, I have a ski box on the  top of my car and then I have stuff in the back for tennis. I also have work boots, work jeans,  a good shirt and shoes in case I’m out somewhere. I am sports on wheels.”

Brackley has many traditions while coaching such as “word of the day”—which is a specific word  written on a whiteboard that correlates to the purpose of that practice for that day. Woody also has many mottos by which he creeds by while coaching.

“One of my good buddies told me that, ‘you might have to grow old but you don’t have to grow up’. That’s why I like playing with these guys because four years go by so quick and next thing you know, you’re considered an adult,” he said.

Brackley’s word of the day was “thank you”. He thanks his tennis team for such an enjoyable  season as they approached the end of their season with metros.

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