St. Joseph Academy 1951
2020 Legends Division: Coaches
Ann Dorr (Murphy) Mortell was a 1951 graduate of St. Joseph Academy and attended Northwestern University until her marriage to her husband, Gerald J. Mortell, Jr. (Central Catholic High School Class of 1949).
Her interests in life included raising five children and sharing with them her love of tennis and golf. She was a founding owner of the Western Racquet Club in the mid 1970s, and a very competitive tennis player, winning multiple tennis tournaments in the area. She was inducted into the Brown County Tennis Hall of Fame in 1985.
Ann Dorr’s passion to grow tennis in the area led her to coaching tennis for SJA, Premontre High School and St. Norbert College. She coached her daughters while they attended SJA; Marcia (Mortell) Blumb, (SJA 1981), Jenny Mortell, (SJA 1982), Susan Mortell, (SJA 1984).
Mary (Garland) Schaupp (SJA 1982) shared her thoughts which sums up Coach Mortell’s love of the sport, coaching style and influence she had for her respective teams.
“Coach Mortell was an outstanding tennis coach. Her statistics prove that. She led us to become the best tennis players we could become, and ultimately led us to win the first ever state championship for the St. Joseph Academy tennis team. But more importantly, she understood the message of St. Augustine, ‘Become what you are not yet,’ and knew that she had a responsibility to help lead us to become the best people we could become.
“Make no mistake about it, Coach Mortell liked to win and the goals were clear: win matches and titles, with the state championship as the final goal. We worked hard. Every decision she made was for the good of the team, which at one point or another was painful for each of us to accept. I still feel the pain of the phone call I made asking her if I could miss just a few practices to be on the cheerleading squad. Her response was swift and direct: ‘Everyone on this team needs to be all in to be successful. Choose one or the other.’ Of course, I made the wrong choice and didn’t play tennis that year. Fortunately, I eventually realized it was a mistake, and Coach welcomed me back the following year, holding no grudges, allowing me to earn my spot back, match by match. That year, for the first time ever, we won the state championship. A once in a lifetime experience.
“We didn’t realize it at the time, but she was teaching us what we needed to know for a meaningful life: with hard work, sacrifice, difficult decision making, commitment to others above self, learning to say I was wrong, and adherence to values, really good things happen. She was a tennis coach and a life coach, and I am a much better person because I played on Ann Dorr’s team.”
Her family reached out to others as well and they had some wonderful sentiments of Coach Mortell.
Jane Marnocha (SJA 1983) said, “The one thing I’ve thought about thru the years is the time she arranged to have Bart Starr come talk to us before state. How many kids can say they got that pep talk?”