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View Full Version : Myrtle Beach gives longtime coach final title


BeachTennis
05-17-2009, 04:45 AM
LEXINGTON -- Rivers Lynch ended his coaching career at Myrtle Beach just as he will be remembered a winner.

The longtime coach, who will not be retained by the school district next year, led the Seahawks to their fourth consecutive Class AAA team title with a 4-2 victory over Riverside on Saturday in his final match.

"I love these guys," a teary-eyed Lynch said of his final Seahawks team. "They have made my career end on a very positive note. It is going to be real hard to accept the fact that I am not going to be back with them next year.


"I wish them the best of luck. Whoever is going to be coaching them will have a great group of guys. They are not just good athletes, they are great young men."

The weekend had the feel of a tribute to the coach of 41 years, who could be seen wiping away tears all through his team's championship match. His four daughters were on hand as were his six grandsons, and his four granddaughters attended Friday's semifinal win over Camden.

The 62-year-old coach and his wife, Teresa, are losing their jobs with Horry County Schools at the end of the school year because of budget cuts during the tough economic times. The couple retired several years ago but have been working on year-to-year contracts as "at-will" teachers in the school district.

"We are only supposed to employ at-will workers if we are unable to fill those positions with qualified candidates," said Horry County Schools spokeswoman Teal Britton at the time the cuts were announced in March. Britton said the positions are not being eliminated, but other teachers who may have been laid off because of ongoing budget issues could possibly be placed in those positions.

"It was probably on all of our minds during our matches," said Seahawks sophomore Chip Cox, the team's No. 1 singles player. "We were just trying to get him one more title in his last year."

Saturday's victory was the Seahawks' seventh state title since 2001.

Trailing 2-1, the Seahawks got pivotal wins at No. 3 singles, where Henri Liriani battled back after losing the first set to take a 4-6, 6-2, 10-8 win over Tim Qiao, and at No. 4 singles, where Eric Wunder held off Austin Craine 6-1, 4-6, 10-7. When No. 2 Elliot Giddens finally put away Daniel Weiner 7-6 (1), 6-2, the Seahawks and Lynch had their title.

"It was just one of those days that you couldn't breathe," Lynch said. "Every time you looked around, you were either going back down or heading up again.

"When it goes to tiebreakers, it goes down to who can gut it out and pull out the win."

Lynch was inducted into the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2007.

After a brief start to his career at Chesterfield in 1968, he taught and coached at the now-defunct J.C. Lynch High in Coward from 1968-71 and at North Myrtle Beach from 1971-80 before going to Myrtle Beach. There, he coached girls basketball (140-42 record), boys basketball (32-28), volleyball (37-6), track (60-20) and baseball (43-18), but he will likely be remembered for his impact on the tennis court. He led Myrtle Beach to eight girls tennis state championships, including six straight, from 1990-99 and compiled a 296-15 match record. He also led the boys tennis team to three consecutive state titles and a 52-8 record since taking over the program in 2007.

"I don't know what will be after this, just wait and see what happens," Lynch said. "It is just really hard to talk about it. This is something that I really like to do and I have done it a long time. These guys, all of them, not just these but year after year it has been young people that have really made my life enjoyable."

Although Lynch will miss the coaching, his fondest memories are of the people.

"All of the students that I have been involved with for 41 years, and that is a lot of people, that is my best memories of the students and the athletes and the parents," Lynch said. "I will never ever, ever, ever say that I didn't enjoy teaching and coaching. It was just a pleasure. I guess you have to have been there to understand it."

Singles No. 1 Chip Cox (MB) def. Ryan Rudman, 6-1, 6-1; No. 2 Elliot Giddens (MB) def. Daniel Weiner, 7-6 (1), 6-2; No. 3 Henri Liriani (MB) def. Tim Qiao, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8; No. 4 Eric Wunder (MB) def. Austin Craine, 6-1, 4-6, 10-7; No. 5 Matt Hagler (R) def. Trevor Funderburk, 6-2, 6-4

Doubles No. 2 Thackston Crandall-Nathan Swanson (R) def. Ken Etheridge-Thi Lam, 6-2, 2-6, 10-7

Records Myrtle Beach 21-4, Riverside 17-2.

S H O W S T O P P E R !
05-17-2009, 08:07 AM
Wow, that was touching. I wish that coach has better days ahead of him.

JMS
05-17-2009, 08:36 AM
This coach reall is a great guy, we played his school earlier this year in a pre-season tournament (we're from NC). Even when we won the match he was as respectful as any coach I have seen.