News and Events
Congratulations to longtime Fridley High School (FHS) Girls Tennis Coach Anthony Branitski who was named Section 4AA Girls Tennis Coach of the Year!
“It’s definitely an honor to be recognized as Coach of the Year,” said Branitski, who also earned the Section 5A Boys Tennis Coach of the Year award in 2017. “It’s validating to know that my peers see tennis is more than just the wins and the losses. It’s about character development, learning a lifelong sport, and treating everyone how they would want to be treated. I always try to add those pieces into my teaching and coaching and it’s great to be recognized.”
Branitski has been coaching both boys and girls tennis teams at FHS since 2006. An avid tennis player in high school and college, Branitski said it is a joy to have the opportunity to connect with students on another level while playing a sport that he loves.
“The relationship-building aspect is my favorite part about coaching,” Branitski said. “I’m all about creating a family-like atmosphere on my team. We are there to encourage each other and build each other up.”
A tight-knit group, the girls tennis players participate in a “Big Sister, Little Sister” program, where varsity players get teamed up with junior varsity (JV) players. Students benefit from the mentoring opportunity and also build friendships, exchange gifts at the end of the year, and participate in a friendly inter-team tennis tournament.
According to FHS senior Natalie Anderson, whom Branitski has coached since 5th grade, he is the most encouraging and supportive coach.
“He’s been an amazing coach and he’s taught me to never give up on myself,” said Anderson. “He is so dedicated and puts everything he has into the team. He makes sure everyone is included and has fun. He cares about every single one of us and it’s such a good family-like feeling to be a part of this team.”
JV Tennis Coach and 2010 FHS grad Tyler Antil is one of Branitski’s former players. Antil said Branitski is a standout coach because he preaches “character” above all else. “To Anthony, being a good person, teammate and student comes before being a good tennis player,” said Antil. “He is relentlessly positive and enthusiastic and that shines through to anyone who has the pleasure of playing for him or just being around him.”
Antil added that Branitski is intentional with his lessons on being character strong and building family-like culture. “One of the best lessons I’ve learned is, ‘It's not how much you know, it's how much you care.’ Anthony truly embodies that principle and that is why he is so deserving of that Coach of the Year!” said Antil.
To Branitski and his team, one of the most memorable aspects of this past season has been recognizing and rallying around one of his former players, 2017 graduate Luke Coelho, who is battling leukemia. Branitski and his team have been wearing “Luke Strong” bracelets to keep him in their thoughts.
“As a team, we talk about resilience and gratefulness, and we want to show Luke our support as much as we can,” said Branitski. “A highlight of this season would definitely include having my team meet Luke. He came to three practices this year and played with us. Those were some special moments, and supporting him was a big part and focal point of our past season.”
Congratulations Coach Anthony Branitski for earning the Section 4AA Girls Tennis Coach of the Year!