Latin Academy girls’ tennis coach, Jimmy Hite, who helped found the school’s tennis program more than a decade ago, resigned last week and was replaced by Sportsmen’s Tennis Club’s new strength and conditioning coach, Calvin Carter.
Hite, a local tennis legend and fixture at Carter Playground near Northeastern University, said paperwork and bureaucratic red tape increased significantly since Latin Academy’s program started as a co-ed squad.
The 67-year-old’s mother also died about four weeks ago and he said the stress was too much to take.
“They turned it into a logistical nightmare,” the retired Cambridge police officer said Wednesday evening. “It was getting ridiculous. I do it because I like it. The money is nothing, it’s not minimum wage. You have to have a love for it.
“I have a medical condition, a heart condition, high blood pressure. My doctor told me not to get upset. They were really starting to get me upset. And with my mother passing away I was under the gun. I told them I have to do what’s best for me, this is becoming a headache.”
Hite noted that while most tennis coaches in the state have assistants and an athletic director at the school they coach at, Boston schools have one AD for the entire city and there is no money in the budget for tennis assistants. He also said his no cut policy means that he had to simultaneously coach his star players and teach students with no tennis experience.
But Boston schools’ Athletic Director Ken Still said paperwork comes with the territory.
“It is part of the ballgame, you know it is part of the ballgame,” Still said. ”You get in the ballgame, you are going to have to do exactly what’s needed by your coach. … Every coach has to do administrative work and coaching in order to be able to do the job.”
While Still said the decision was Hite’s alone, he made it clear that Hite was struggling with the job as of late.
“Jimmy had a difficult following the rules and regulations as far as paperwork and showing up on time and paying attention to the schedule over and over,” Still said. “He made the decision that he thought it was too much on his plate so he let it go."
When Hite helped start the tennis program at Latin Academy, Boston Latin School was the only Boston Public school with a tennis program. The original Latin Academy team was co-ed because they didn’t have enough players to field a boys and girls team. They didn’t even have uniforms in the beginning and eventually used soccer jerseys before finally securing real tennis shirts.
The program split into a boys and girls teams a few years later and joined the Greater Boston League, which both the boys and girls have dominated three years running; although, as an associate member of the league, they can’t be considered the champions.
The girls’ team has also qualified for the state tournament three years straight, making it to the quarterfinals of the North Division 1 bracket in 2010.
“I felt bad for the girls,” Hite said. “It hurt me to my heart when I sat and talked with them. They understood but it was like being abandoned. But I have to look out for my health.”
The team’s new coach, Carter, only moved to Boston on March 1 and has coached high school and college track but has never coached a tennis team. Carter, who played tennis at a junior college in California, is the cousin of Frank G. Williams, Jr., a Boston police officer who runs youth programs at Sportsmen’s.
Carter, 55, doesn’t think handling the extra paper work will be a problem because coaching Division 1 track in Sacramento meant juggling recruiting and coaching.
And sophomore DiAndrea Galloway has been Latin Academy's No. 1 singles player since seventh grade and is like an assistant coach. Carter also noted that there are plenty of pros and coaches around Sportsmen’s (where the team plays and practices) to help the team tactically.
“They are an excellent group of girls,” Carter said. “I’m surprised they get on the bus so quietly, you know how girls can be.”
Carter said he would like to return to coach the team next year and at some point he’d also like to sit down and pick Hite’s brain.
“It’s always daunting when you have someone else’s shoes to fill,” Carter said of Hite. “But I don’t think the expectations are high for me right now. They just wanted to have someone with guidance for the girls.
“I’m glad to help do it; really glad.”
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