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Donna Hislop named Assistant Coach of the Year

by Brandon Hansen / For The Leader
| June 6, 2024 12:00 AM

After over four decades of coaching, long-time Polson tennis coach Donna Hislop was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Montana Coaches Association.

Hislop first got into tennis when she started dating current Polson Head Tennis Coach Bob Hislop.

“He taught me how to play and about the game,” Donna said. “I started playing myself and loved it.”

There was an opening for the freshman coach in Bigfork, so Hislop applied and got the job.

“I love the challenge of the game, and there have been an innumerable number of student-athletes that I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know,” Donna said.

Both Donna and her husband have been coaching at Polson for close to 30 years. Donna said she enjoys coaching with Bob, who has led Polson to several state championships.

"She is invaluable," Bob said. "There is a saying about teaching and coaching that says 'kids don’t care what you know, but need to know that you care.' That is Donna. She is a solid coach in practice and a great match coach."

Donna had equally kind things to say about her partner in coaching and in life.

“He is a fountain of knowledge and I have learned so much for him,” she said. “It just works well for us. I feel very fortunate to be able to coach with him and that we can enjoy doing so. Not every couple can do that.”

Donna said that the success the Pirates have had has been a bonus. The two coaches’ goal has always been to teach a love of tennis and how to play a game that players can enjoy for the rest of their lives.

“We also try hard to help our players become better people as well,” Donna said. “I think the reason that our tennis program has been so successful is because of my husband and his love of this game and wanting to do whatever he can to help the athletes learn the game and become the best players they can be.”

Their commitment to coaching tennis in Polson hasn't gone unnoticed as the duo continues to rack up results during the postseason.

"It has been a blast," Bob said. "She keeps me in line and takes care of all the little things without being asked. We have our moments, but overall, we work very well together."The Hislops also expose Polson players to summer lessons, clinics, and tournaments during the off-season. They also attend coaching clinics themselves.

“Players also know that our coaching staff cares about them as individuals,” Donna said. “Assistant coaches are given the opportunity to contribute ideas, drills and have input into what happens. I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the program.”