A teacher of many lessons
Having reached the pinnacle as an athlete, coach, and official, J.C. Louderback now enjoys watching his children and grandchildren excel in athletics.
Louderback, who graduated from Arkansas City High School in 1952, joined fellow ACHS tennis teammates Alan Austin and Richard Circle by coming to Arkansas City Junior College, now Cowley College.
Louderback not only played tennis at ACJC, he was also the quarterback for the football team and a guard on the basketball team. He had tremendous success in all three sports.
In tennis, he was a state doubles champion and captain of the team. In football, he was the team captain and named the squad’s Most Inspirational Player, along with being named an all-conference quarterback. He was also the captain of the basketball team, which finished second in the nation in the 1952-53 season.
After ACJC, Louderback spent one semester at Wichita State University before transferring to Southwestern College in Winfield. At Southwestern, he again played three sports. He served as a team captain and was named the Most Inspirational Player on the football and basketball teams. In tennis, Louderback and teammate Garry Hays won a doubles state championship.
After graduating in 1957, he coached Cowley men’s tennis team to state championships in 1957, 1958, and 1959; and led the Tigers to a national runner-up finish in 1958.
He was a Master Teacher for Unified School District 470 in 1984, and served as math instructor and boy’s tennis coach for Arkansas City High School for 36 years winning Kansas State team titles in 1989, 1990, and 1991. He was inducted into the Southwestern College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994, was inducted into the Kansas Coaches Hall of Fame for tennis in 1997, and was inducted into the Missouri Valley Tennis Association Hall of Fame in 1998. He was induced into the first class of the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.
“I have tried to be a role model to my kids, so the honors are nice,” Louderback said.
He also had a brief four-year stint as ACHS head basketball coach and girls tennis coach, and served as an assistant football coach at ACHS for 22 years.
“My main objective was teaching,” Louderback said. “I really enjoyed teaching. I also enjoyed athletics and thought it was a great way to help kids improve mentally and physically.”
Former Cowley College tennis coach Larry Grose and doubles partner John Guyot were Louderback’s first state champions in 1960. They became back-to-back winners in 1961, winning two regional championships and two Ark Valley championships in the process.
Louderback was voted national high school regional tennis coach of the year twice and Kansas state high school tennis coach of the year four times.
He has spent the summer months serving as the boys tennis coach or supervisor at the Arkansas City Recreation Center since 1957. He also began officiating football games in 1957 and worked games in the United States Football League, the Big Eight, Conference USA, and the Missouri Valley Conference. He retired from officiating in 1999.
“I had a great experience working as an official in major college football and basketball,” Louderback said. “It was a great run, I miss all the people I was fortunate to work with.”
He also served as President of the Kansas District Tennis Association for 15 years, and spent seven years as the commissioner of the Ark Valley League.
He credits his success to the support of his wife, Donna, who also graduated from ACJC in 1954.
“Without a faithful, hard working wife and mother none of this would have ever happened,” Louderback said. Together they have two sons and one daughter: Brad, Jay and Jan Krisik. Jan’s husband, Joe, is assistant director of the Arkansas City Recreation Department.
“An inspiration for me was having my children around and wanting to see them succeed,” Louderback said.
His oldest son, Jay, is the head women’s tennis coach at the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame has captured a dozen conference titles during Louderback’s 17 years as coach and has reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament on five occasions.
Jay and his wife, Denise, have one daughter, Bailey, who is a sophomore on the Irish tennis team.
J.C.’s son, Brad, is the head men and women’s tennis coach at Cowley. In his first year as coach at Cowley, Brad led the Tiger women’s tennis team to a seventh place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament.
Prior to coaching at Cowley, Brad led his alma mater Oklahoma State University women’s tennis team to four straight Big Eight tournament titles from 1985-89. During his four years at the school, he led the Cowgirls to an unbeaten record of 28-0 in Big Eight team matches.
Louderback’s daughter, Jan Krisik, played for Jay at Wichita State. Jan still ranks in the top-10 in career wins for the Shockers women’s tennis program. Her daughter, Kali, now plays for Jay at Notre Dame.
The incredible success of the Louderback family led them to be honored by the USTA in April, 2003 with the Tennis Family of the Year Award, presented to one family consisting of USTA members and volunteers who have excelled in advancing the USTA’s mission to promote and grow the game of tennis both on and off the court. He also has a grandson, Kyle that plays tight end for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University football team.
Louderback and his wife, Donna, enjoy watching their grandchildren take part in athletics and is proud of what they have accomplished. “I am always excited when they succeed in things,” Louderback said. “I am fortunate to get to go watch them.”
He also enjoys watching his son Brad’s Cowley tennis teams and all of the Tiger athletic programs. “We thoroughly enjoy watching athletics at Cowley, Ark City is an exciting place to watch many sports,” Louderback said. “It has been great to see the programs grow and follow the many talented athletes as they go on to compete at the college and pro level.”
Louderback still remains active in the community as he serves as an usher for the First Baptist Church in Arkansas City and helps supervise along with Jan Krisik the Arkansas City Recreation tennis program, which he has been a part of for the past 50 years.
The numerous accomplishments and accolades have never gotten to Louderback’s head, as he is quick to credit others with helping him along the way. “I have been surrounded by a lot of good people,” Louderback said.