In order to accept an offer to become Lawrence High’s new girls tennis coach Wednesday, Chris Marshall had to make a sacrifice.
Marshall, who took over the LHS boys tennis program last year, resigned from his eighth-grade head football coaching position at Central Junior High.
He was at Central for three years after spending 14 years coaching football at Southwest.
“It’s kind of interesting how life works out,” Marshall said. “I thought I’d be a college football coach, and now I’m a head varsity tennis coach of both boys and girls at Lawrence High. Life throws you little twists.”
The new coach’s transition will be helped by Mike Gillam, who will remain as an assistant for the LHS girls.
Marshall said there will be advantages to presiding over both tennis programs at LHS.
For one, the squads now will be able to combine equipment and fundraising more easily.
Last year, when the boys team raised money to buy two new ball machines, it made for some interesting dilemmas. Should the LHS girls team be able to use the machines, even though they hadn’t raised the money to buy them? And what if the machines were damaged while being borrowed? Who would be responsible for them then?
Now, Marshall will be able to pool fundraising to make the LHS tennis program better as a whole.
“It just makes things easier that way,” Marshall said. “Then we’re all working toward the same goals.”
Marshall also is looking forward to being able to devote his time to tennis year-round. That will include keeping up-to-date with the newest technology.
He admitted the job had been a bit overwhelming on his first day. After learning that the school board had approved his hiring at 11 a.m., Marshall said he’d spent about four hours on the phone to work out small details like scheduling and the ordering of team gear.
He doesn’t have a lot of time before the season starts up: LHS practices begin Aug. 15.