by Bob San
SUN PRESS NEWSPAPERS
JC Lippold may no longer be the head coach of the Maple Grove High School boys’ tennis team, but he will forever remain a Crimson.
Lippold stepped down after nine seasons coaching the Crimson. He left the program and players he love after he received the opportunity to become the Area Developer and Studio Manager for the Boston expansion of Corepower Yoga, where he has taught for the last year.
“This opportunity presented itself around the beginning of May,” Lippold said. “I told the boys at Applebee’s where we often pow-wow as a team for family dinner. We made a pact to not let it affect this season as I arranged to not leave until after the season finished, the day after the state tournament concluded. The boys were all very proud of me and were my strength as I prepared to leave the Northwest Suburbs where I have lived my whole life. This is one of those opportunities that cannot be passed up. We talk about it on the tennis courts that when you get the chance to finish the big point, you have to go for it. This is one of my big points.”
Lippold left on a very high note. He built the program into one of the top in the state as the Crimson made two straight trips to state in 2012 and this year. They were sixth last year and won the third-place trophy this spring. The Crimson gave Lippold the perfect going-away present, his first win over Elk River (as a player and coach) in the third-place match.
Lippold is excited about the new opportunity but is sad that he is leaving behind a family he has known for nine years.
“I am a part of the biggest and best families I have ever witnessed, the Crimson Tennis family,” Lippold said. “So many amazing young men have walked onto our courts and have been challenged and given the opportunities to grow up and do great things in a safe and supportive environment. We all are touched by this way of thinking, coaches, parents, friends and players alike. It’s my turn to become an alumni, I still have obligations to help support and motivate this family, but I don’t get to do it as the Head Coach anymore and that makes me sad.”
The Crimson, many of whom have grown up under Lippold’s tutelage, are just as sad to see him go.
“I’m pretty sure JC is the best fit for me as a high school coach,” first singles Zach Adkins said. “I learned more about what it means to be a tennis player from him than I think any certified coach could have taught me. There’s more to it than just hitting the crap out of the ball. You need belief. JC was a unique coach because he was involved in musicals and yoga, and he was able to apply aspects of each into tennis. A lot of the mental parts he taught during musicals were in his lectures to us.”
Lippold knows his replacement, John Kuntz, will do a fine job.
“I leave the program in the hands of someone who I am more confident in than I am in myself,” Lippold said.
“John Kuntz who was the Co-Head Coach of the program this season, is an amazing man with a well of tennis knowledge and capacity, but more importantly he has the same drive and desire to give the guys everything he can, to remind them of the gift they have within this program and within their teammates and to push them to make the most out of each swing of the racket.”
The Crimson will miss their beloved coach but they know he will be supporting them from afar.
“It’s important to know that he is not gone completely,” Adkins said. “I am certain that he will return, and he will be supporting us from Boston the entire time.”
Lippold knows he will be back around state tournament time next spring.
“Here’s my call: Crimson Tennis wins their first state championship in 2014,” Lippold said in his usual upbeat manner. “And I will be courtside cheering on the Crimson.”
Contact Bob San at [email protected]