A.G. Longoria

Long before the USTA decided to recognize coaches on a national level for not cutting tennis players from their high school teams, A.G. Longoria of Sage Hill School in Newport Beach was letting each and every player be a part of the team.

AG LongoriaJust last month Longoria, the Sage Hill boys’ and girls’ high school tennis coach for the past 14 seasons, was notified that that the USTA had selected him along with 13 others to the 2014 No-Cut Coach All-Star Team.

The coaches were cited for implementing a “no-cut” policy which welcomes all interested students to be a part of their school’s tennis team.

“I’m really honored to receive the award, but we never cut anybody before the award was there,” the Mission Viejo resident Longoria said. “We had 51 girls come out to start our season and some dropped off to do volleyball and cross country, and so we ended up with 36 players. We let them all play and have a JV and frosh-soph team.

“I guess you could say I’m the poster child for No-Cut. Tennis is a lifetime sport and the school has been into letting us have everyone play.”

According to a USTA press release, since 2006, more than 4,000 tennis coaches nationwide have made a commitment to offering a no-cut policy, with some programs including more than 100 team members on a high school team.

Longoria, who will be 70 years old in December, has coached since 1980. Born in San Antonio, Texas, he played at the University of Texas at Austin and then coached at both Texas Pan-American and the University of North Texas, where was the only coach in school history have both the men’s and women’s team be ranked in the top 10.

He began teaching for Club Corp of America at Canyon Creek Country Club in Richardson, just north of Dallas, and served on the executive board of the Texas Tennis Association.

An opportunity came up to move to Southern California in 1985 after Longoria accepted a job at the Nellie Gail Tennis and Swim Club in Laguna Hills. He never went back to Texas and still teaching mornings at the Cota De Caza Golf and Racquet Club.

“I’m an off-campus coach at Sage Hill, but it’s pretty much full-time,” he said of the non-denominational school started by Peter Ueberroth that currently has 480 students. “I’m still the only coach at the school to have won a CIF title (one for the boys and one for the girls).

Both teams compete at the CIF-Southern Section Division II level and his girls have made it to the CIF finals seven times. Currently competing in the seven-school Academy League, the Sage Hill girls’ team is ranked No. 9.

“I’m planning on at least 10 more years of coaching,” Longoria said. “I’m getting more involved and am part of the California High School Tennis Association. We are trying to push No-Cut throughout the state, and not just because I got the award.”

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