MENDOTA – Long-time Mendota High School tennis coach Tom Corrigan is hanging up his racket after more than 35 years coaching in the girls’ and boys’ programs. Corrigan was honored with a plaque, cake and gifts at the final girls’ dual match of the home season on Sept. 30.
Corrigan began in the MHS program in 1985 and teamed up with many other tennis coaches along the way, including Mike Kilmartin and Paul Kimrey. Current MHS coach Shawn LeRette and Corrigan were on the coaching staff together for 17 years.
“He is the face of the program,” said LeRette. “He used to say, ‘if the kids are not having fun, it’s the coaches’ fault.’”
In accepting the plaque, Corrigan said, “It wouldn’t have been fun without you all,” referring to the players on this year’s team and those from the past. “The kids do all the work, we (coaches) just show up.”
Corrigan explained that the whole point of coaching is to keep it low key and be there to help the players out.
“(The players) are the reason I’m here,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed every year and never have had any problems with the kids.”
Corrigan said some of his fondest memories are the three sectional championships Mendota won during his time on the coaching staff – two by the boys (2014, 2015) and one by the girls (2014).
“It was a great experience to win those sectionals,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan, who is on the staff at Merritt Funeral Home, said the decision to finally give up coaching tennis at MHS came down to choices, as doing both tasks can sometimes be a grind.
“It was time for me to make a choice, and it was a really tough choice,” he noted. “But I’ve enjoyed every minute of this.
“I wasn’t expecting any of this,” said Corrigan, in regard to the gifts and well-wishes he received. “I was just expecting to fade into the background. “I’ve had a great time and am ending on a great note.”