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Wednesday Coaches Corner: Morris King, Jr., Part II

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Black Tennis Pro's Coach(l)Naseem Eslami (2nd from left) Maryam Eslami (2nd from right) Coach King (r) Shabnam Eslami


Author Prelude

The Wednesday Coaches Corner began on May 14, with very kind favor. It is the one who found it necessary to remind me that coaches are indeed Black tennis professionals too, whom I continue to explore today.

This weeks segment, which concludes my *EXCLUSIVE* interview with world class coach Morris King, Jr. primarily discusses the coaching life and experience of “Coach King.” It is definitely not for the faint-of-heart. This part of the interview is straight up, no chaser in your face high voltage revelation. So much so that I guarantee you will have to read some passages a second time (at the very least).

This interview is about the coaching aspect of the life of Morris King, Jr., and it is what it is, his own personal experience, and that’s exactly what I want you to walk away from this read knowing, his life experience as a Black world class tennis coach.

There is only so much time and space to accommodate an individual interview, so at the conclusion of this interview Coach King is open to further exploring any of the information that is included in either Part I or II of this interview. You are welcomed to comment, email or contact him directly through information that will be provided at the end of this interview.

Morris King, Jr.'s Opening Statement, Part II

“In beginning Part II of this interview, I am reminded of a controversial statement made by Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder at a Georgetown restaurant in front of reporters. The portion of his statement that got everyone’s ire up was that the slave owners of old used to “breed his big Black to his big Black woman so that he would have a big Black kid.” Actually, that statement is historically correct.

But the portion of his statement that remains far more damning and racist is where Jimmy “The Greek” warned “if Blacks take over coaching like everybody wants them to, there is not going to be anything left for the White people.” THAT is the very damning, racist statement that sends a subliminal instruction to Whites to block competent Black coaches. That form of fear mongering is the racism from which I (and other) Black coaches suffer, especially in the tennis community. It is very much purposed.”

“I come from a culture that won’t allow my daughters to play tennis because they are female. It is almost the same in this country when you are told ‘no, your daughters cannot play because you come from a low income family. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) is a political machine, and the total system is a failure.”
Ali Eslami

As I began to compose all of the notes that I have taken during my conversations with Coach King, and the brief one that I had with Ali Eslami, I was stymied for hours on the manner within which to present it. Coach King and I established a wonderful rapport during this interview and enjoyed some very light moments. It didn’t dawn on me just how literally depressing the totality of this information actually was until I was alone with the information and attempting to organize it in an appealing manner. There is nothing appealing or easy to read about about cultural bias, systematic racism, and veiled parity.

From the joys of coaching, to the high point of being selected to advise on the rise of Venus and Serena Williams, to the disappointment of rejections as a contract coach, Morris King, Jr. has and is experiencing a coaching career that is mired in the invisibility of the private Black tennis coach.

From the days that Coach King would work independently as a youth to learn tennis because of the inability of a Black youth to get into the local country clubs in Jacksonville, to defending his reputation against Tennis Week Magazine based upon the lies and lies of omission by Amer Delic, continuing his commitment to a sport that few even know that he is a part of is remarkable.

In the early 90's Coach King made moves to bring his life forward in a direction that did not include tennis. “I became a professional manager for entertainers, models and athletes along with other endeavors, tennis was unwittingly growing on the side. It was not purposeful or planned whatsoever.”

“At a certain point I realized that I am now a tennis coach, but it may not last. This was a response to life.”

Today Morris King, Jr. is a world class coach serving as the founder and director of MAGIAN World Class Tennis, which specializes in highly competitive, individualized training utilizing the patented and unstoppable “MAGIAN style”. Additionally,
  • King is the first “world class” coach in the history of his home city and state of Jacksonville, Florida.
  • Coached touring pros, nationally ranked “top 10" international/national juniors from four countries with two being #1s as well as many other accomplished juniors, collegians and PTR/USPTA teaching pros. (Accomplished this ALONE; that is, without having assistants do the work, then robbing them of the credit.)
  • Creator/developer of the patented “MAGIAN Style.”
  • Former certified USTA Official (6 years).
  • Former USTA Clinician.
With all of this, Coach King’s attempt at consideration to secure contract players such as Jelena Jankovic most recently, are met not with a resounding no, but with a silent lack of response.

Even at his own alma mater, the University of Florida, with two coaching positions open at the time, Coach King gave consideration to taking on a collegiate position in coaching tennis and discontinuing his professional efforts, once again King was rejected.

In an attempt to determine why coaching opportunities for a Black world class tennis coach exist as such, an investigative journalist took it upon their self to take a long hard detailed journey into the history of Coach King in relationship to accomplishments, player history and much more, because surely there must be a reason why a Black tennis coach cannot seem to secure the same coaching opportunities as an equivalent or lesser White coach.

One such attempt in the life of Coach King where the desire resides on both sides of the equation is with the Eslami sisters, Naseem, Maryam, and Shabnam, the daughters of Ali Eslami (www.triplethreattennis.com).

The quote at the top of this interview from Ali Eslami was acquired during a brief conversation with him. Mr. Eslami has had the opportunity to have his daughters work with Coach King, and has not been impressed with the coaching that his daughter’s have received since that experience.

“Coach King is the best coach I have ever come across. His expertise, humbleness and willingness to help us...” said Eslami, who has great respect and admiration for Coach King and equal if not more disappointment with the USTA.

Eslami was referred to Coach King by none other than Richard Williams, the father of superstars Venus and Serena, who had previously personally sought out Coach King to assist in taking his daughters to the next level. King likened his capacity in the coaching of Venus and Serena Williams to that of football coaches, saying “I was more like an offensive and defensive coordinator with Richard (Williams) being the head coach calling all of the plays.”

“Richard Williams’ accomplishment was made in brilliance and craftiness. With no tennis background or accomplishments, he mimicked the duties of an NFL head coach and brought in other coaching coordinators as necessary.”

Eslami basically agrees with King’s position saying, “Richard Williams is a visionary and a businessman. He knew what he wanted and where he wanted to go, he had a plan and was willing to take that next step to support his daughters.”

“What happened with Venus and Serena is far removed from the norm of parental coaching, unless that parent has experience coaching tennis, says King.

“Currently being coached by parents or USTA coaches that will never be able to deliver them to the championship status that they so desire, are youth with respectable potential. Unfortunately they are unable to climb out of the first and second round losing box that they are in because their coaching situation does not move them forward, but instead stagnates their growth.”

One such player is Ahsha Rolle. “I was approached by the parent of another youth about a very talented young lady whom this parent thought I might be able to help. He stated ‘this girl needs a real coach.’ I thought it would be great if I could get her on the map. I was willing to help her free of charge, with the parents picking up expenses. I never had the opportunity to speak to the parents, but I really would like to have helped her move her game forward.”

When asked about the viability of Black coaches in tennis, Coach King’s response was a very dry “there is no viability, they are non-existent.”

“Just take a sample. Every time you turn your television on for the next six months, ten years, whatever, count the Black coaches that appear as the players are being discussed. We are not there.”

“If you dare show that you are good at this, and that you can coach players to beat their players, your visibility went from 0 to negative 100. When they realized that I was good, they took the safety off."

I asked Coach King how he saw the current state of tennis, “the talent pool is down across the board. Blacks who have been around the USTA’s development program for years who now are showing up and tricking Black people into thinking that they are new, are NOT new - just politically feasible.”

“Having now completed this interview, I would like to say thanks for having given me this rare opportunity. You have been a most delightful interviewer. I hope that the readers become more enlightened because of your efforts and that you have the greatest of success and a positive effect on the problems that have plagued us throughout history.

Morris King, Jr.

Related links:

“About MORRIS KING, JR., Black, Pro Tennis Coach & World Class...” (the independent investigative expose that gives a vivid behind-the-scenes insight into how Blacks are kept down and/or out of professional tennis) - www.protennisexpose.net

PRESS RELEASE:
“Practice Of Hiding Black Pro Tennis Coaches Attacked!” - www.mmdnewswire.com/content/view/1364

Posted by Shelia

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