The city Board of Education honored two middle school tennis teams this week for their undefeated seasons.
Coach James Hayes went 11-0 with both the girls’ and boys’ teams this season at Mount Airy Middle School.
Dr. Don Martin, interim superintendent, introduced each of the players as board chair Wendy Carriker handed out certificates of appreciation.
Hayes took over the tennis duties from his wife, Mary Alice, who put together a remarkable run over more than a dozen years.
In her first year coaching the girls’ team, the squad went 8-2, a nice mark. But then came a remarkable 122-match winning streak that lasted until a year ago when the school had a very young team.
One good thing about being young is having players return the next year, and Hayes said eight of the top nine players were back.
That showed as not only did the team go undefeated, the girls individually won every single match. Going 9-0 all season equated to a total record of 99-0 in singles and doubles.
The boys’ team wasn’t quite so dominant, but also won each match, although the final was close.
The team was tied 4-4 with one doubles match left. The teams were playing an 8-game pro set, and Mount Airy trailed 4-7 before rallying for the win.
James Hayes already has been enshrined in the Mount Airy Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 2012) for his remarkable achievements in both tennis and basketball coaching at the high school level.
While at Mount Airy High, Hayes led the girls team to three straight conference and regional championships and five in seven years. The team won a state title in 1988 and went 100-8 over his seven seasons.
He was named conference coach of the year four times in seven seasons, and doubles team Christie Sanders and Keri Whitehead won three straight state championships (1987-89).
Mount Airy had never won a state title in boys’ tennis when he took over, but the boys picked up four state singles titles and one doubles title in his 15 years.
The team also won 10 straight conference titles.
Hayes went 271-62 over his 15 years, with an incredible 97-3 record in conference play. For his efforts, he was named Coach of the Year 10 times in 15 seasons.
Several of his former players have themselves been enshrined in the city Hall of Fame including Sanders, Whitehead, Elizabeth Bell Boyd and Derek Slate.
Considering the success that Mary Alice Hayes had in her tenure — which included her former girls players winning three straight state 1A titles this decade — the wife could join her husband soon in the Hall.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.