Nykerk Celebrates 50 Years at TC Central
TRAVERSE CITY – Through five decades and hundreds of matches, Larry Nykerk has built the Traverse City Central boys and girls tennis programs into perennial powers.
With more than 1,000 coaching wins to his credit, Nykerk is celebrating his 50th year with Central this spring.
Joining the program as an assistant coach in 1967, Nykerk took over the head coaching reins the following year and hasn’t looked back.
Since stepping down as the boys coach in 2014, the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association and Traverse City Central halls of fame inductee has continued to guide the girls program.
“It keeps you young and it keeps you going,” Nykerk said. “I started the junior high program and then the next year I became the varsity coach. It’s pretty rewarding is all I can say, it also means that you’ve been around for a while.
“I’m just coaching, I’m not playing. It’s not about me, it’s about them and the program you build, and if I can be a part of that and make a difference to some lives, then hey, that’s rewarding.”
With Nykerk at the helm, the Trojans have reached the MHSAA state finals each of the last 33 years.
“He really puts his all into all aspects of the team, and it’s so nice to have a coach like that who’s dedicated,” senior Kristin McLintock said. “He’s always just been around Central tennis. He’s always just so welcoming when you join the team and you already feel like you’re a part of it.”
Nykerk doesn’t know when he’ll coach his final match, but he’s sure the legacy the he leaves behind will inspire future Central athletes.
The Trojans will go for their 34th consecutive state finals appearance when they travel to Flint Kearsley for a Division 2 regional on Thursday, May 18.