MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s no better way to cruise into retirement than by being the best at what you do. After 28 years and 23 state titles, could there be a better way to go out than on top?
That’s what Edina girls’ tennis coach Steve Paulsen did this week, leading the Hornets to the state title in his final match as coach. It was the storybook ending to a legendary career.
“This is the cherry on top, I tell you. We’ve had battles over the years, and this year with Minnetonka, and I couldn’t think of a better way. I’m so proud of the kids,” Paulsen said.
Yes, it bears repeating that Paulsen coached the team for 28 years. And 19 of those 23 titles were consecutive.
“Like I told somebody, ‘I’m not worthy.’ But it’s the culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of people. It takes a village, as they say. We try to put a product on where the kids love to play, they love to come to tennis, they learn and have fun, and we’ve been successful doing that,” he said.
Paulsen has never made it about himself, even though with all that success you couldn’t blame him if he had. But he always made it about the athletes who have played for him. After winning his 23rd title, to send him into retirement on a high note, he once again gave the kids credit.
“That’s why I coach, to see those guys come together both on and off the court, different experiences, that’s the best for me,” he said. “These girls worked hard all year to this point and the journey still would’ve been good, but it’s certainly a lot sweeter when we won the tournament. I’ll look back and I’ll savor this for a long time.”