Coronado Tennis Team, Best in Over Two Decades

tennis

[Photography by Joan Fahrenthold]

Coach Moore is quick-witted with a charming southern sense of humor and a love for coaching. Consistently in good spirits, he often jumps the line between encouraging girls in honing their tennis skills and making them double over laughing. To Coach Moore, tennis is a game, but this time in a girl’s life is also very dependent on good life lessons. Both of which he provides his team.

Coach Moore has coached for fifteen years and he also played tennis in high school. His experience coaching at CHS includes helping former CHS tennis Coach Robbin Adair for five or six years with both boys and girls tennis. Coach Moore then became the full time girls JV coach in fall 2008. When the varsity coach left in spring 2011, Coach Moore stepped up into the role of head coach for the girls varsity team. The current assistant/JV coach is Nevie Nelson who is known for being a great, competitive coach and player with a record to prove it. Nevie’s teams have gone undefeated the last 3 out of 4 years.

This fall season the varsity team ended with a 14-2 record; both losses were to Bishop’s. However, for the first time since 1993, the girls tennis team won Western League. Western League is compiled of notoriously tough tennis teams – OLP, Cathedral, University City, Scripps, and La Jolla. How Western League works is that every team places twice – once at their home court and once away. Moore is proud as he says, “What I think is unique about it, is that we went 10-0 at those schools when we hadn’t won the league since ’93.”

Possibly the most impressive part is that the CHS team was actually the underdog. Coach explains, “I didn’t expect it since we lost seven girls from last year. A couple seniors, two or three moved away, and a couple of them went to study abroad.” Coach Moore contributes his success to a number of components, one of them being new talent on the team, “I had three really hot rod freshmen, I had a transfer student from Cabo San Lucas.  Plus, this team bonded together and really encouraged the best from one another, that was special.”

Coach Moore attended Hall High in Little Rock, Arkansas and recalls a very different tennis environment than the one he has provided for CHS girls. “When I went to high school, the football coach was the tennis coach. He had no clue whatsoever. So he would just drop us off balls and tell us that he would pick us up at 5:30. Just dropped off. There was no organized practice, never stayed to watch a match, just dropped us off. So when I see parents [of girls on the CHS team] I tell them they are getting a lot more than just that. Their coaches play, this is what we love to do, and hopefully they get some life lessons along the way. The whole idea is I want you to think of some of the best times in high school to be of tennis – that’s the goal. Whether it was competing, or going to Disneyland or Universal, our goal is to teach a life sport; and so when they think of their high school years they will reflect, ‘that was the best time I ever had.’ ”

As someone who was coached by Coach Moore and played for the CHS tennis team for two years, I can say that he has accomplished this goal for not only myself, but for many of my teammates.

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[Photography by Joan Fahrenthold]

Coach Moore is very purposeful in his desire to Coach. “I always thought that if I ever did this, I would want to give back. I had some pros that worked at the Tennis Center when I was in high school and college. My dad had passed away when I was really young so those guys were always taking me under their wing, and showing me stuff. I loved hanging out at the Tennis Center so this is a way to give back.”

Coach Moore

[Photography by Joan Fahrenthold]

Questioned about the best moment in his coaching this season, Coach Moore smiles and reveals that it was winning Western League, but more in the way the team won. “I knew that if we beat La Jolla at La Jolla we would clinch the championship. We were up in sets 9-7. Then my number two doubles lost to their number three and now we are still up 9-8. Behind me, because I am umpiring, because there was a question about line calls while Chrissy Seggerman and Summer Vu were playing the number two doubles (they were number one). They were down 1-5. I am watching this match, thinking we have a really good chance of winning this with my number two against their number three. When they went down 6-4, I’m like ‘oh man, there’s probably no way…,’ but I keep hearing behind me 1-5… 2-5… 3-5… They ended up winning 6 games in a row and beat them 7-5 at their place with a very hostile crowd.”

Another moment Coach says may rival the Western League win, was qualifying for CIF with two singles and two doubles teams.

Although coaching is rewarding and fun for Coach Moore, there are some challenges when building the team. “The challenge every year is who fits where. When you play doubles with someone, you want to like the person you are playing with, you want to gel with them. You want someone who picks you up. You also want everyone to play, you want everyone to enjoy it, but you also want to win.”

It’s not all about the games, but also the practice it takes to prepare for them. “The practices are fun, but I also try to make them challenging. You’ve got singles players and doubles and you only have one of me. Typically I only use the four courts, not the library because that’s like sending someone off to Antarctica. I think the best practices are competitive.”

For girls looking into playing for the CHS team next year, Coach Moore has some great advice. “If you’re a beginner, I would say find a buddy and get with one of the local pros and take a semi-private lesson. Get to a clinic and see if you really want to spend the time and effort. I don’t want to turn anyone off from ever playing.  No matter what, you need a good foundation. I would encourage girls at Coronado Middle School to come out and see a match.”

After one of the best seasons the Coronado girls tennis has seen in decades, Coach Moore is still focused on the big picture, “I think it’s a privilege to coach. I think it’s a big deal. When my players see me years from now, I want them to remember they were part of a very competitive, fair and fun program and that they had a great time.”

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Alyssa is a graduate of Coronado High School and was in the founding broadcast journalism class at CHS. She earned her BA in Communication from CSU East Bay and completed her MBA from CSU San Marcos. Her passion for writing and interest in the behind the scenes of business, leads her to write frequently about Coronado businesses. You can find Alyssa walking around the ferry landing with her shih-tzu terrier or enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Coronado's favorite cafes.Have a story for The Coronado Times to cover? Send news tips or story ideas to: manager@coronadotimes.com