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Local tennis player, Keating, reflects on opportunity to compete in the NCAA
May 28, 2014
TROY — If you would have told current Wayne State University and former Troy tennis player Trey Keating as a child that he would eventually earn the opportunity to compete at the NCAA collegiate level, that news may not have come as a big surprise to him.
Keating said that his father and two of his uncles played professional tennis. It is a game that has been a part of his life since he was a youth, and Keating said it was around seventh grade when he realized he wanted to go on to play tennis at the college level.
While childhood dreams may not always turn out the way people imagine, the opportunity has provided Keating, who transferred from Grand Valley State University following the 2010-11 season, with the kind of life experiences that could only have come as a result of being a collegiate student-athlete.
“It’s been a great experience,” said Keating, who completed his redshirt junior season. “I’ve met many different people from many different countries. The experience is something you won’t get if you’re just going to college sitting in a classroom. The team camaraderie is probably the best I’ve ever had. We’re traveling with each other; we’re rooming with each other. We probably see each other, sometimes more so than our own families.
“It’s been a long road, but I wouldn’t take back anything. I’m very happy with where I am.”
Keating has earned a spot on Wayne State’s No. 1 doubles team. And while getting that kind of chance may have been given to him based on individual merit, when asked about the keys to coming as far as he has, Keating gave some thought to people who have supported him along the way.
“I came from a very supportive family,” he said. “My dad played professional tennis, and he wanted me to be the best I could be. I was on the tennis court when I was growing up. I developed a love for the game from a very young age. My mom drove me to tournaments, sometimes ranging from Birmingham all the way to Indianapolis or Chicago. I wouldn’t be where I am without having my family backing me up, and just meeting people along the way that encouraged me and saw promise in me. I really appreciate all their help.”
Keating also cited tennis pros Bill McGarry and Don Egler as sources of support, along with Wayne State coach Bryan Morrow, coaches he had at Troy, and former Grand Valley State teammates Andrew Darrell and Marc Roesslein.
Aside from the support he has received, Keating also stressed the importance of schoolwork.
“If you don’t do well in school, you cannot compete,” he said. “And likewise, if you don’t do well in athletics, your coach could drop you from the program. That’s what I learned. You have to keep everything in order — you have to keep your ducks in a row. You have to be very organized, very diligent with what you’re doing.”
Keating’s efforts on the tennis court haven’t exactly gone unnoticed by his coach.
“Trey had a great year this year, on the court and as a leader on the team,” Morrow said. “Last year was his first at Wayne. He was a good doubles player; he was solid. This year, he and his partner blended, and got better and better as the year went. By the end of the year, they were playing some really, really good doubles. On top of that, Trey played singles for me, and continued to get better and better every match. By the end, probably the strongest spot on my team. He was playing great tennis.”
Keating is majoring in secondary education with an emphasis in social studies. Following graduation, he may teach, coach tennis or both.
While he may not be sure of the exact direction he will take yet, Keating has thought about what it might be like when his collegiate career comes to a close.
“Looking for a teaching job for school, but also looking at, potentially, collegiate coaching or coaching for high school,” he said. “It’s finding the right spot God has for me, and figuring things out from there. It’s saddening and exciting at the same time. I’m going to miss it — I really am. It’s not like I’m leaving; it’s just beginning a new chapter kind of thing.”