Time for a little personal journalism.
It’s going to be a major adjustment for me seeing someone other than Darrell Herndon as the Enid High School tennis coach.
Herndon is the last EHS coach remaining who was at his current position when I came to this newspaper in the summer of 1978. He certainly made my job easier. Herndon might have been the most organized coach I’ve dealt with.
He always knew the impact a certain tournament would have on future seeding information.
You could count on him to call from a tournament site with the results instead of waiting until he got home.
That two-hour difference made a lot of difference in coverage. It’s one reason why tennis might have gotten better play in the newspaper at times.
I got a chance to know Herndon better than most coaches because I had an opportunity to travel with the EHS teams on various tournament trips.
I discovered he had a love for country music and University of Oklahoma football and a sense of humor, although the latter was a little more evident when Enid won.
He took a football mentality to tennis. His favorite saying to a player was “refuse to lose.’’
He would be the first to admit he was not a technical coach in the mold of Oakwood Country Club pros Jim Shaughnessy or John Williams.
But he learned on the job. He learned drills. He got his players in the best tournaments to put them in a position to get a high seed at state. He was a good motivator.
He might have been the best prepared coach at a state seeding meeting. He fought hard for his players.
Herndon might have scared his first girls team with his style, but those girls grew to love him as a coach. He learned to joke with them.
Herndon can laugh now about how he locked up the girls equipment during the lunch break at the 1988 state tournament. That’s when EHS won its first title.
He cared deeply about his players. Herndon did his best to try to put seniors in a position to win a state individual championship.
It pained him recently when Emily Fike was forced to go from No. 2 to No. 1 singles in the regionals after a protest by Edmond Memorial.
He felt he let Fike — a four-year regular — down. Herndon said that was the greatest disappointment of his coaching career.
He mellowed through the years. Herndon wasn’t quite as intense during the preparations for the state tournament as he used to be.
Herndon’s biggest thrill might have been coaching his daughter, Heather, and son, Heath. He said he regretted the time he had to spend away from them when he was coaching football.
He didn’t apologize if he spent a little more time watching Heather or Heath. He hoped people would understand.
He didn’t show favorites in the lineup. Heather played two years on the varsity. Heath didn’t make the varsity until his senior year.
The Herndon men occasionally would have a father-son argument. Coach Herndon said his kids were less afraid of him than their teammates. As a coach Herndon might have had higher expectations.
Six state championships — five girls and one boys — is a legacy to be proud of. He indeed was the face of Enid tennis.
Time for a little personal journalism.
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This Week's Circulars
HENNESSEY - The funeral for Johnnie Belle Ritz, 87, will be Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at First Baptist Church. Burial will follow at Hennessey Cemetery under the direction of Cordry-Gritz Funeral Home.
ANTHONY - Gladys R. Vardy, 95, died Oct. 26, 2020. Funeral service 10 a.m. Monday at the Christian Church in Anthony, Kan. Viewing 1-5 p.m. Sunday at Prairie Rose Funeral Home, Anthony. Memorials: Manchester Cemetery. www.prairierosefuneralhomes.com
FAIRVIEW - Funeral Services for Wayne Anthony Hubble, 65, will be 1:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, at the Fairview First United Methodist Church. Burial will follow in the Fairview Cemetery. Arrangements by Fairview Funeral Home Inc..
OKEENE - Funeral services will be held Monday, Nov. 2 at 10 a.m. at Harvest Church in Okeene, Okla., with Wilkinson Mortuary in charge of arrangements. Burial to follow at Roselawn Cem.
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