Regis Fox gives Newman University a lot of credit for molding him into the leader he is today.
A Wichita native and lifelong tennis player, Fox had his sights set for the University of Kansas (KU) after high school until he received a phone call from the head tennis coach at Newman asking him to join the team. He was also offered a tennis scholarship, which helped seal the deal.
Fox said during his freshman and sophomore years on the team, he felt overwhelmed for a number of reasons, leading him to transfer to KU for a year. What ultimately brought him back to Newman for his junior year was when the university hired a new tennis coach whom Fox had known previously — a coach who wanted Fox to serve as a leader for the team.
From that day forward, Fox viewed himself as just that.
A band of brothers
The summer going into his junior year at Newman, Fox focused on training and getting back into shape. In addition, he was named team captain and began to concentrate more on helping ensure his teammates were also having a good experience playing collegiate tennis.
“That’s when I started to realize that I can actually impact people with what I do on a daily basis, not just on the court, but off the court as well,” he said.
Fox remembers feeling like he and his teammates were “a band of brothers,” and that the team entered tournaments and matches feeling like a real community.
“They say that tennis is an individual sport, but I really feel like we did those things together,” he said.
Before his senior year started, Fox told his coach to do whatever he needed to help the Newman tennis team find top-tier players, even if it meant cutting Fox’s scholarship to enable them to recruit at a higher level.
“To me, that’s leadership. It’s not about me; it’s about what we can do to make the team better,” Fox said. “I think that started to mold a tiny bit of my coaching.”
Loyalty and royalty
Fox graduated from Newman in 2009 with a degree in communication. Since then, he’s become United States Professional Tennis Association certified and coached at two different Wichita area facilities: Riverside Tennis Center and Genesis Health Club.
Eventually, Fox got married and had kids, so his evening and weekend hours weren’t working for him anymore. He left coaching with the sole intent of finding a day job, but six months later, he was back on the court teaching others the sport.
“I guess I made such a big impact on the tennis community in Wichita that when I stopped coaching, there was still a void there,” Fox said.
With the demand, Fox started his own tennis coaching business, Royalty Tennis. He currently coaches part time while maintaining his full-time job as a customer service representative in the aerospace industry. Although Royalty Tennis means Fox is back to working nights and weekends, he’s thrilled to be able to help kids and adults alike grow their tennis skills.
“The difference now is it’s on my terms,” he said. “I don’t work for anybody else, so nobody else can run my schedule. It’s all about growing the business.”
In the future, Fox hopes to build his own facility for Royalty Tennis and make it his full-time career.
He mentioned that it’s thanks in part to his communication professors at Newman that he’s able to be such an effective tennis coach. He doesn’t take a cookie-cutter approach, and that’s because of the lessons those professors taught him about interpersonal communication.
“In order to have an effect on a multitude of people, you have to know how to talk to them and understand that every person is different,” Fox said. “I think that’s where some coaches miss it.”