Hardy switches courts again at Hunt

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A couple of years ago, Wayne Hardy turned the Hunt High boys and girls tennis programs over to Debbie Williamson Bass.

Now, the 58-year-old Hardy is returning to the courts as Bass’ successor and head boys and girls tennis coach again.

Hardy, who resigned as head varsity boys basketball coach after the 2017-18 season, indicates he plans to teach and coach two or three more years and said: “I’m going to try tennis out a couple of years and see what happens.

“Coach Bass did an outstanding job. We should be fine. We’ll try to get better every day and win as many matches as we can.”

Hardy, a Red Oak native and graduate of Elizabeth City State University, began coaching at Hunt High in 2006 after 22 years of military service with the U.S. Air Force. He coached wrestling his first year, then assumed direction of the boys tennis program.

Later, he would also become the girls tennis coach, a position he occupied for four seasons. And before coaching boys basketball, he functioned as girls basketball head coach.

“Wayne is one of the finest people I’ve worked with,” commended Hunt athletic director Jon Smith. “He will do well with the tennis program and as assistant AD. He does a lot of great things for our program and will do what’s best for the program.

“In taking over both teams, Coach Hardy brings the consistency and stability we had with Debbie — and that’s a plus for everybody.”

Of his stint as head boys basketball coach, Hardy responded: “It went by fast and I enjoyed it. I wish we could have won more games, but it was a good experience.

“We were not getting where we needed to be. At my age, what’s best for the program and best for me is to do something less stressful. The right opportunity (return to tennis) became available and I jumped on it.”

Hardy, who plays recreation tennis, has spent much of the summer visiting acquaintances and family in Anchorage, Alaska, and Charlotte. He’s about to begin the process of becoming acquainted with prospective players for both teams.

School opens with the girls competing this fall; the boys season is in the spring.

“I coached a couple of the girls,” Hardy noted. “As long as the girls work together, play hard and show team camaraderie, we will be fine.

“I don’t know a lot of the guys but, before the season starts, we’ll have a good head count and try to get some more out. I think we will be competitive.”

And Hardy assures he’ll be fine.

“There’s less pressure in tennis,” he explained. “It’s a lot less stressful. The atmosphere is a lot smaller and it’s much quieter. Tennis is a really good sport — one an old man like me can still play.

“I just needed something less stressful.”