Tennis coaches Leora Grimshaw and Maryann Grover were unable to return for 2021’s girl’s tennis season. Grimshaw was offered a full-time position at Harbor Point Tennis Club and Grover could not risk putting her health in jeopardy due to COVID-19. New coaches Brian Kaplan and Andy Sun have been hired as replacements.
Grimshaw held the coaching position at San Marin for six seasons and has been coaching tennis for a total of 20. She initially started when her daughter was a freshman and planned to stay longer, but acquired a higher paying job at Harbor Point Tennis Club in Mill Valley.
“I had to get a job that was paying me better than San Marin,” Grimshaw said. “There was just no way I could continue coaching there.”
Grimshaw has no plans of coming back to San Marin to coach but hopes to attend matches periodically to check in on the team. One of her favorite parts about coaching high schoolers was the sense of community that they brought to the court.
“I adored all of the girls,” Grimshaw said. “They made it such a fun experience.”
Grimshaw’s favorite coaching memory was in 2019 when San Marin went up against Terra Linda High School. The last match of the evening went to a third set tie-breaker and determined which school would come out victorious. Grimshaw described how both schools stood watching the match, cheering on their teammates.
“Knowing that you are the one pulling through for the team is such a special moment,” Grimshaw said. “You cannot create it for someone, it just has to happen. And I was so glad it happened to this girl who was improving all season.”
Like Grimshaw, Grover said her most memorable experiences have been during the deciding matches.
“Those are always the best times when it comes down to the last match and we are able to win by a third set tiebreaker,” Grover said.
Grover started coaching tennis in 2012 up until the spring season got cut short in March of 2020. She hoped to return for the girl’s season this March, but decided it was not worth the risk of potentially contracting COVID-19 as she has not yet received the vaccine.
“I didn’t want to leave on that note,” Grover said. “Unfortunately, I felt like it was out of my control…it was in the control of the pandemic.”
Despite not being an official coach this season, Grover has continued to stay involved with the team by showing up to practices, matches, and offering advice to the new coaches. Her favorite part about coaching was seeing the team develop as players, something Grover said she is looking forward to getting back to once she is vaccinated.
“I really enjoy tennis and I really like working with kids, which is why I ended up coaching longer than I thought I would,” Grover said. “It’s exciting to see how kids grow from their freshman to their senior year and how much they have improved.”
With Grimshaw and Grover gone, new coaches Kaplan and Sun held the first practice on March 1, and are on track for a shortened season of eight weeks. Sun has been playing tennis since he was a sophomore at Novato High School and said he has loved the sport ever since.
“I got on the court and didn’t want to quit,” Sun said. “If I don’t have sore knees, elbows, or wrists, I am on the court.”
Sun said that his main goal for the team is to get the girls out on the courts playing in hopes that they too will fall in love with tennis. He said tennis, unlike other sports is something that can easily be played later on in life.
“Tennis is something that you can always go back to and it allows you to meet people,” Sun said. “I want students to look back after college and say I’m so glad I played tennis.”
For Kaplan, tennis came at a much later start than Sun. When his wife started to play tennis consistently ten years ago, he noticed how much enjoyment she gained and was inspired to give it a try. Recently, when he heard San Marin needed a coach, he didn’t want the students to miss out on a chance to play so he decided to take the position.
“I really want to see improvement and see the girls get exercise while having fun,” Kaplan said. “The more the girls play, the better they will get.”