Delaware's Nancy Keiper
May 23, 2013 12:40 PM
Player, coach, teacher and volunteer.
If you ask the feelings of people who have been associated with her
, even those words won't completely describe what Nancy Keiper has contributed to tennis.
From the first time she
played the game at the age of 8, to her
16 years as Executive Secretary of the Delaware District
, to her
final Middle States role as Tennis Service Representative (TSR) for that district, Keiper
has been a whirlwind of activity and success.
After more than 60 years of using her
love affair with tennis to inspire countless others, Keiper
decided to retire, effective June 1.
Once described as "a pied piper for grassroots tennis", Keiper's "whirlwind" may be winding down, but it is clear to all who know her
influence will continue on.
"I enjoyed every minute of my job.
All I remember are great things," said Keiper
Working with the people in Delaware, and all throughout Middle States, has been incredible.
I believe tennis is the best sport there is.
I know the lessons it teaches you and what it can do for an individual, a family - really anyone.
I honestly believe in the USTA
and every one of its programs."
After playing tennis at Haverford High School, Nancy went on to co-captain the Drexel University team, also serving as captain of the badminton team and President of the Women's Athletic Association.
many accomplishments at Drexel
led to her
installation in the school's Hall of Fame.
As a high school coach at Archmere Academy, Nancy was twice named Delaware Coach of the Year and once Middle States Coach of the Year, winning three state titles and sharing in another.
also won a state title with the girls' team at Springfield, Pa.
As a player, Nancy experienced success at all levels, particularly as a senior.
won a gold medal in doubles at the U.S. National Senior Olympics in 1995, and a silver medal in that same event in 1993.
In the very competitive USTA League Tennis program, she
was part of three national title-winning 4.5 teams.
It has been at the community level that this "pied piper" has had such a lasting impact.
Keiper has helped bring tennis to underserved populations for more than 30 years through her work with the Wilmington Tennis Foundation and the Rodney Street Tennis & Tutoring Association.
These programs have steadily increased from barely 100, to more than 1,000 served today.
Before Block parties, Keiper helped create a special event called Tennis In The Streets by setting courts up in the middle of downtown Wilmington.
That initial event with a few hundred participants, close to 20 years ago, has morphed into more than 1,000 inner-city kids being bussed in to the city to learn to play tennis.
Over the years, Keiper
has been instrumental in creating alternative sources of revenue for programs throughout the state of Delaware, helping to raise more than $100,000 for inner-city tennis and education programs for youth at-risk.
Keiper's lifelong commitment to helping youngsters through tennis is the key motivation for all that she
has set out to do and accomplish.
has been an excellent role model for adults and youth alike, and in 2003 she
was inducted into the Middle States Hall of Fame
Even while retired, Keiper
won't stop talking about tennis.
passion for helping kids won't disappear, and her
interest in the game won't drop.
said she'll miss working with the people in the community on a daily basis, but feels comfortable leaving the TSR duties for someone else to take on.
"It's been a wonderful run, a wonderful experience," Keiper