By Charlie Garfinkel

Special to the News

Sandy Trampert is the driving force behind the success of girls tennis at Orchard Park High School.

The OP teams coached by Trampert have won the ECIC Division I title for an unprecedented nine years in a row (they shared the title with Clarence in 2004), compiling a 97-1 record in team matches during that time.

Sandy’s passion for tennis and the members of her team are a joy to behold. The respect and camaraderie that the coach and her players share has been instrumental in her compiling the incredible record that she and her teams have attained.

Sandy’s father, Henry Banas, had really gotten caught up in the game of tennis and was Sandy’s role model. He taught physical education in the Buffalo School system for 35 years, mostly at Burgard Vocational High School.

“My dad had such a passion for his athletes who played football, basketball, and tennis for him,” Sandy said. “He constantly encouraged his athletes to play tennis as he knew the sport greatly helped with their agility, concentration, and strength.”

Trampert said that her father got her started at the age of 9 in tennis in a most unusual way. Due to a scarcity of courts in the 1960s, it was sometimes difficult to find a place to play. On numerous camping trips with her family, she and her father would practice volleying a tennis ball without nets. Sandy loved it, but when she attended Orchard Park High School there was no girls tennis team. In 1972, due to the efforts of the legendary boys tennis coach, Terry McMahon, first Mary Benning, and then Sandy, were allowed to play on the boys’ team.

Sandy went on to participate in varsity swimming, lacrosse and tennis at Brockport State.

Her coaching career started at the Hickory Hills Tennis Club back in the late 1970s, when she was asked to start a youth program that included interclub play. Ron Rudnick, Roger Esslinger and Sandy, along with others, started the interclub league that included many clubs, including Park, Brookfield, Country Club of Buffalo, and clubs in the Southtowns. She was hooked from the start.

As for coaching, she is especially indebted to McMahon.

“I was very fortunate to volunteer to help Coach McMahon when he was coaching the girls team in 1988,” Trampert said. “I was able to learn the importance of dedication and commitment and the honor of being part of his team. All I’ve tried to do is follow in his footsteps as well as I could.”

Athletics has always been a family affair for Sandy. Her husband, Jim, was the athletic director at Orchard Park for many years, and her daughter is certified to teach physical education and health.

Trampert has also taught physical education for 26 years at Ellicott School in Orchard Park.

Her philosophy about coaching shows why she is in such demand and highly respected.

“Coaching should be all about making it fun for the kids,” she said. “It should be challenging and you should create an environment where the athletes want to create traditions.”

Trampert this weekend is in Latham, for the New York State Singles and Doubles Championships. With her are the Orchard Park doubles team of Shayleen Brennan and Nikki Legler, who won both the local ECIC and Sectional Girls Championships.

One thing is for sure. Win or lose, Sandy Trampert will be extremely proud of her girls.