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David Kent November 9, 2015 10:09 AM updated: November 9, 2015 10:16 AM

(Published in) The (Bryan-College Station) Eagle (on) November 9, 2015

Kent, David

October 30, 1935 - November 3, 2015
David Alvin Kent, a career teacher and tennis coach who shaped the lives of thousands of young people, died on November 3rd in Cedar Park, Texas, he was 80 years old. He was born on October 30, 1935, in Perryton, Texas to Charley and Juanita Kent. David graduated from Amarillo High School where he was a standout multi-sport athlete. Following high school, he attended Texas Tech on the first tennis scholarship ever awarded there. In 1957, he married his high school sweetheart, Eileen Jacobson.
David was best known as "Coach" to the many, many people he inspired throughout his career as a tennis coach. He taught and coached at Amarillo High School from 1958-60 and Midland High School from 1960-69 prior to joining the collegiate ranks. During a long and illustrious career, Kent became one of the most successful tennis coaches in NCAA Division I history. Over 27 seasons split between West Texas A&M and Texas A&M, Kent compiled a 516-223 record, which was the 11th best in Division I history at the time of his retirement. Kent led the Buffaloes to six Missouri Valley Conference titles and helped the Aggies to a Southwest Conference championship in 1994 and a pair of Sweet 16 NCAA berths (1985, 1994).
Kent won his 500th dual match on Feb. 25, 1996, becoming only the ninth NCAA Division I coach to achieve that feat at the time. He was inducted into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men's Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998. At the induction, he reflected on his career saying, "Coaching is fun. I really enjoyed it all my life, and it was a challenge. I didn't look at it as a job. I . . . loved to get up early in the morning and practice and go to tournaments. It just never seemed like a job to me." In addition to the ITA Hall of Fame, Kent is a member of the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame, Texas Tennis Coaches Hall of Fame, the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame, and the Texas A&M Athletic Hall of Fame.
Coach Kent is nationally known as a "builder of champions," evidenced by his win–loss records and numerous championships. But those who knew him realize his greatest accomplishment and joy was in his role as a "builder of character." As a coach for 38 years, Kent influenced the lives of hundreds of high school and college athletes. He also directed summer tennis camps for 24 years where he shaped the lives of the thousands of young people who attended or worked at the camps.
Kent loved politics and the Bryan–College Station community. After retiring from coaching, Kent was Chairman of the Brazos County Republican Party for 12 years. In 2000, David and Eileen served as delegates to the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. He volunteered in the community as a Gideon and as a member of the Blinn College Brazos County Advisory Committee.
Faith also played an important role in his life. David and his wife Eileen were actively involved at Grace Bible Church in College Station and members of Northwest Fellowship in Austin. Often volunteering as a greeter at Northwest Fellowship, David enjoyed making every attendee feel welcomed and special. He was also a board member of the Brazos County Child Evangelism Fellowship and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
A man of character in every facet of his life, David never hesitated to shower those around him with generosity and words of encouragement. He gave freely of his time and money. As a coach, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, David truly loved to build others up and encourage them in every endeavor. This encouragement and support has left a lasting mark on everyone who knew and loved him.
David is survived by his children, Tanya Grona and her husband Fred of Tomball, Todd Kent and his wife Brenda of Berkeley, Ca., and Trey Kent and his wife Mary Anne of Austin. He is also survived by his sister, Diane Drew of Pensacola, Fla. Affectionately known as "Poopa," he was adored by his seven grandchildren, Ashley Grona Frey and her husband Luke, Tyson Grona and his wife Alicia, Elisabeth Kent, Emily Kent, Abigail Kent, Lindsay Kent, and Christina Kent Gamez and her husband Nick. He also leaves a strong legacy for his four great-grandchildren, Halle, Lucas, and Benjamin Frey, and Beckham Grona.
A memorial service celebrating David's life will be held on Friday, November 13, 2015, at 11am at Northwest Fellowship, 13427 Pond Springs Road in Austin, TX, where Pastor Trey Kent will officiate. A private interment will follow at the "Aggie Field of Honor," 3800 Raymond Stotzer Parkway in College Station, TX.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a gift to the David Kent Emerging Leaders Fund that supports Northwest Fellowship's leadership development efforts among low-income communities. Donations can be sent to Northwest Fellowship, 13427 Pond Springs Road, Austin, TX 78729 (Kent Emerging Leaders Fund on memo line).
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(Published in) The (Bryan-College Station) Eagle (on) November 5, 2015

Former Texas A&M tennis coach David Kent dies at 80

By ROBERT CESSNA robert.cessna@theeagle.com

Former Texas A&M men's tennis coach David Kent, who died Tuesday, had a Hall of Fame coaching career, but he was even a bigger winner off the courts, said former Aggie women's coach Bobby Kleinecke.

Kleinecke played for Kent at West Texas A&M, kicking off a lifetime friendship.

"His family and friendships, they just meant the world to him," Kleinecke said. "As far as playing for him, I mean if you made it through four years with him, he would go to hell and back for you. The winning and losing are what drove him, but that wasn't the key thing with him."

Kent, who coached 27 years at West Texas A&M and Texas A&M, was 516-223 in 27 seasons, which was ninth best in Division I history when he retired in 1996. He won six Missouri Valley Conference titles and guided the Aggies to the 1994 Southwest Conference championship and reached the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 in 1984 and 1994.

"He was such a competitive person, and only a sports-minded person would understand this, that he didn't like to win as much as he hated to lose," Kleinecke said.

After retiring, Kent was chairman of the Brazos County Republican Party for 12 years. Kent, who turned 80 on Friday, also was involved in many charities, donating his money and time.

"He's one of the most generous men I've ever come across," Kleinecke said. "He was always thinking of others, and he'd give you the shirt off his back."

Kent is in seven Hall of Fames, entering the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Hall of Fame in 1998. The courtyard at the Mitchell Tennis Center is named after him. Kent, who was 316-161 at A&M, was known by his peers as a "Builder of Champions."

"I was saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Kent last evening," A&M men's tennis head coach Steve Denton said in a press release. "My sympathy is extended to the Kent family during this very difficult time. I will always remember his friendly smile and quick wit. He was a legend of our sport and will truly be missed by all who knew him."

Kleinecke played for Kent from 1975-78 and A&M women's tennis coach Mark Weaver played for Kent from 1990-94.

"Coach was one of the most amazing people that I have had the pleasure to know in my lifetime," Weaver said. "He had an incredible impact on my life and countless others as well. There are very few people I know that exemplified the core values of Texas A&M quite like Coach Kent."

A memorial service celebrating Kent's life will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 13 at Northwest Fellowship, 13427 Pond Springs Road in Austin, where his son, pastor Trey Kent, will officiate. A private interment will follow at the "Aggie Field of Honor" in College Station.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks people consider a gift to the David Kent Emerging Leaders Fund that supports Northwest Fellowship's leadership development efforts among low-income communities. Donations can be sent to Northwest Fellowship, 13427 Pond Springs Road, Austin, TX 78729 ("Kent Emerging Leaders Fund" on memo line).


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