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He may have only been in his first season on Curry’s Men’s Tennis team, but Anthony Johnson is one to watch. The Commonwealth Coast Conference recognized him as “Rookie of the Week” and in All-Conference honors. The young athlete was motivated to study and compete at Curry after meeting Head Coach Cory Tusler at a state championship match the year prior. He also knew a college closer to home would allow him to stay close to family during an unprecedented year.
Graduating from high school and starting college in 2020 was not without challenge for any student. For Anthony, those bumps in the road included a COVID-restricted campus, ill family members at home, and a transition to a heavier class workload. It was the understanding, support, and encouragement from his professors, advisor and coach that motivated this “quiet kid” to turn things around and speak up in class.
“At first, it was all overwhelming, and I struggled with the classwork, which was usually never a problem for me, but because of COVID and everything that came along with it, it was a hectic year,” he says. “My advisor was there and helped me through it, and so did one of my business professors. He recognized that I did well on a midterm exam but never really spoke up in the Zoom sessions. He asked me to start sharing these ideas in class, and it helped me come out and speak up more in class and when I needed the extra help.”
The sport and recreation management major is on track to learn and explore a career as a tennis coach, an outlook that will center on his love for the sport. When he is not playing and training, he also coaches younger students at the Franklin Park Tennis Association and Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center. Because of his team and coach at Curry, he found joy even amid the clout of the pandemic.
“Starting college during COVID was hard, but it was on the team and in practice where we found fun and laughter. Being on the team creates a unique bond. We are like brothers, regardless of background or the color of your skin. We always have each other’s back from day one.”