When Stephanie Prychitko was inducted into the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1987, she was referred to as “a legend in her own time.”
What she accomplished remains legendary, and in some ways unequaled in Lower Peninsula girls tennis.
From 1976-86, Prychitko coached Grosse Pointe South to 11 consecutive LP Class A team championships, seven of them outright. Only Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett, with 10 straight LP Class C-D team titles from 1980-89, has approached that streak.
Girls tennis had become an MHSAA-sponsored sport only a few years before South’s dominance began, with the 1972 season. But her coaching career predated that by decades – at the time of her Hall of Fame induction in 1987, MHSTeCA reported she had completed 36 seasons having led teams to 16 league and 15 Regional championships as well, with a 273-28 record.
Prychitko enjoyed an especially notable 1984, being named national high school tennis Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association, and also becoming the first woman elected to the Western Michigan University Athletic Hall of Fame. She also was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame, in 1986.
According to various reports, Prychitko began her coaching career with three seasons leading the boys team at Western State High School in Kalamazoo before taking over at South in 1952. Prychitko had graduated from Hamtramck High, and in 1947 reached the quarterfinals of the National Junior Girls grass court tournament. She played No. 1 singles all four seasons at WMU.
Prychitko died in 2016 at the age of 87.
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
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PHOTO Coach Stephanie Prychitko, standing far left, and her Grosse Pointe South team won the program's first MHSAA Finals title in 1976. (MHSAA file photo)