SRHS Parent Steps Up to Fill Empty Girls’ Tennis Coaching Position


From left to right, Sarah Leipsic, Jennifer Myers, Jenn Hatch, Alison St. Sure.

Savannah Summer, Contributor

In February of this year, Augusto Mira Acosta stepped down from his position as the San Rafael High School girl’s and boy’s tennis coach, leaving both teams without a coach. With no prior coaching experience, Jenn Hatch, an SR parent, stepped up to fill the position for the girls’ team. 

Finding a new coach in the midst of a pandemic was very hard. The SR athletic department is not fully funded and the tennis team is low in the rankings. Hatch said that it was her friends, and now co-coaches, who convinced her to take the position. 

“I knew there would be challenges on and off the court, but I was willing and able to meet them,” Hatch explained. 

On the courts, Hatch has had to adjust to the life of a coach, all while navigating through the pandemic. All sports had been modified to meet the Covid regulations, cutting her first season short. This year is her first “normal” season.

“I was wary of the new coaches, I didn’t think they would live up to Augusto’s standards,” said Hannah Vogel, a recent SRHS graduate and girl’s tennis team alumni. “Jenn exceeded my expectations as a head coach. Even though they came into their coaching roles with no prior knowledge of our team’s dynamic or community we had crafted, they did amazing.”

“Working with the girls on this year and last year’s teams, along with our assistant coaches, has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. To be able to share the enthusiasm I have for the sport of tennis with a team of young women continues to be a wonderful experience,” said Hatch. 

The all-female coaching staff, compiled of Hatch’s close friends, is definitely a shift from previous years. However, the girls of the tennis team have found it refreshing and encouraging.

“Having only women as our coaches felt comforting to me,” Vogel explained. “Not only was Jenn a coach to me, but she was a friend.”

The former coach left because of a purported lack of communication from the Athletic Department. 

In the email that broke the news to the girls of the tennis team, Mary Gidley, a volunteer who has assisted both Mira Acosta as well as Hatch on the courts, explained her opinion on the situation. 

“San Rafael does not treat their coaches well… this is not the first time I have heard from coaches of the lack of respect or communication from the administration,” she wrote.

Jose De La Rosa, the Athletic Department Director at SR, explained that during Covid, everything was constantly changing. The school didn’t know if they would be able to have sports during the 20-21 school year. The situation was very confusing and the department had little to share. 

“As soon as we knew that sports were possibly going to be returning, there were communications that went out to our coaches,” De La Rosa explained. “But I do understand that Augusto felt that we had not communicated enough to him.”

Mira Acosta did receive an apology from De La Rosa, however, the ex-coach said, “This was only because I was invited to come and watch the girls’ match by the opposing coach.” 

Hatch also explained that working with the Athletic Department has been challenging. 

“Even now, the Athletic Department is not fully funded like other schools, but they do their best to provide support where and when they can, and to check in with me often,” she explained. 

The girls’ tennis team has less of a budget than any other sport with only .75% of the Athletic Department’s full funding as of March 2, 2021. For comparison, the boys’ tennis team had .96% and the football team had 11.29%. 

Even though Hatch’s son will be graduating this year, she would love to continue to coach for SR. She loves the environment that the girls have created and the feeling she gets from helping them, on and off the court.

“Girls tennis has the smallest budget for both the team and the coach, but we are finding that we have most of what we need–balls, racquets, uniforms, and great attitudes,” said Hatch.