LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Chris Wilson who has served as the boy’s head tennis coach at Lancaster Country Day (LCD) School since 2018 was named one of the 2022-2023 PIAA/NFHS Coaches of the Year on Oct. 18.
“Very humbling,” said Wilson. “It really just goes back to the players, I just happen to be the one facilitating it.”
Wilson has led his team to very successful campaigns, starting in his first season where they won the district title. In 2022, they were the Section 3 Lancaster-Lebanon League champions and were the runner-up for the state title.
“We had a pretty young team and those boys were hungry to get it back,” Wilson said. “I told them, we work hard enough we’re going to get a chance.”
The boys’ hard work paid off. Last season, they won their section again and were able to secure a 3-2 victory over Lower Moreland to clinch a state title.
“I tried to give them a vision of what could be and told them if you want it, you can achieve it, but we have to work together,” Wilson said. “They bought in.”
Wilson has wholeheartedly adopted the player-centered coaching model. Wilson has his players do self-evaluations after every match to identify their own strengths and weaknesses along with those of their opponents.
Wilson’s tennis coaching journey began in 2003 when he started working at summer camps and tennis camps at local clubs. Eventually, he went for his United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) developmental coach certification and later earned his USPTA teaching professional certification.
Wilson’s first experience coaching tennis at the high school level was at Hempfield High School where he also coached soccer. When he started coaching at LCD he was just doing boys soccer, but eventually, they asked him to take over the boys tennis team. Now he is entering his sixth year at the helm.
“Some of the greatest memories are when I see exponential growth,” Wilson said.
Wilson has been on the staff of teams that have won state titles in soccer and has fondly watched his own children win state championships in volleyball. His favorite sports coaching memory was mentoring a group of 9 to 11-year-olds on a club soccer team.
The team struggled a lot and the parents were getting upset. Wilson reminded the parents that as long as the kids were enjoying the game, they would eventually be successful. That group went on to win two district titles and took trips to a state semifinal and a state final.
“Just to watch that progression and that development and that belief in each other, how they grew as student-athletes, how they push[ed] each other, how they just overcame adversities and all the things that go along with developing yourself for 12 years. . .that was really probably one of the greatest memories I have as a coach that I might have a hand in that kind of development of a student-athlete,” Wilson said.
Wilson has also watched his current tennis team grow and knows they can continue to get better if they want to. Heading into this upcoming season, the team will have about eight boys returning, however, they lost their number one and number three players.
“I think the boys are going to work hard. . .to do their best,” Wilson said. “I think they’ve tasted what that success is, they know what it takes to get back on and climb that mountain again.”
When not coaching, Wilson is a full-time teacher at LCD. He teaches health and physical education as well as anatomy and physiology. Wilson is also a ninth-grade dean. Working in these roles, he has been able to see all of the people and experiences that go into shaping young student-athletes.
“I am just one part of the palette of colors that make these athletes who they are,” Wilson said. “I would be remiss not to recognize all the village that it takes to create [them].”