Justin Stuckey: Introducing SLU Tennis Coach

Photo Courtesy of Billiken Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Billiken Athletics

Last summer, SLU athletics announced the hiring of a new coach to take over the Billikens tennis team. At an early age, Justin Stuckey developed a passion for tennis. He began teaching younger players at the age of 14 through a summer tennis program he ran with his brother, only a year after picking up the sport himself. From then on, coaching tennis seemed like the obvious choice for Stuckey.

At the age of 22, immediately after finishing his Masters, Stuckey became a head coach at a Division III university. He was the youngest head coach in all divisions of college tennis at that time. With such an early start, Stuckey had many opportunities to coach at the Division I level. However, it wasn’t until he found SLU this past year that he decided to take that step. 

“There were opportunities to be at Division I earlier on, it just didn’t seem like the right fit,” said Stuckey, “However, I quickly realized during the process of coming here to St. Louis, that it has everything a student athlete could need.”

Stuckey was highly concerned with the quality of the school and program he would be committing himself to. He wanted to be proud of where he was coaching and he found that pride at SLU. His great passion for tennis, for his athletes and for the university are inspiring and motivating his coaching at SLU. Stuckey is working hard in order to help the team’s work on the court to pay off. 

Coach Stuckey has his eyes set on the A-10 tournament semi-finals at a minimum for the women’s team. For the men’s team, Stuckey hopes to make it to the A-10 championships. As a program, both teams are hoping to improve overall records and are hopeful that Stuckey’s new implementations will help accomplish these goals. 

“I think Stuckey is a very kind person and a great coach. He has pushed every single person on the team hard and facilitated us to work hard on our own, on and off the court,” said Cassie McKenzie, a senior on the women’s team. 

Stuckey learned a lot from his past coaches and experiences. His college coach and his career playing college tennis taught him the importance of balancing athletics and academics. This is something Stuckey has kept with him and passed along to his players.

“I have a unique perspective of how academics really can fit in with tennis,” said Stuckey, “f you have the balance of academics, actually you perform better.”

With this perspective, Stuckey works hard to prioritize his players’ academic success. Stuckey feels that if he were to graduate a player in seven years who was on a four year track, he would feel like he failed them. Stuckey admires how responsible his student athletes are and recognizes the importance of success both on and off the court. 

This being Stuckey’s first season with the Billikens, he has great hope for what he and his team will be able to accomplish both this year and years to come. He is passionate about tennis and strives to share that passion with his players. Stuckey’s background in both playing and coaching tennis have led him here to SLU, where he hopes to bring great success.

“I definitely have a strong passion for the game of tennis,” said Stuckey, “This is all I’ve ever done.”