Joyce Allen feels a little bit like Bill Snyder this week.
After 10 years off the job as varsity boys’ tennis coach at Manhattan High School, Allen has accepted her old position and will resume coaching the team she led for 13 years.
While she’s not exactly here to calm the waters — Chuck Kipp took five of six varsity members to state last spring — she will be counted on to carry on the tradition of quality play in Manhattan, just as she did years ago.
“I built that program up from 1990 and was really proud of it,” Allen said. “When it went to Bob Kelly, I was extremely happy, and when Bob retired and Chuck Kipp got it as a former Manhattan High tennis player, all was good with the world.
“But I didn’t want it to slip into oblivion, because we have some really good players out for the team.”
Allen has coached the girls’ tennis team since 1989 and will enter her 24th season this fall. She coached the boys’ team from 1990-03 before relinquishing the position to Kelly. Kipp took over two seasons ago before leaving this summer for an assistant principal job in Garden City, leaving the job vacant.
With a large group of quality young players, there was various interest in the job, but among Rule 10 candidates (non-teachers), the schedule commitment became an issue.
“There were prospects, but it’s kind of a difficult position,” Allen said. “You have to be there everyday from 3-5 in the afternoon and sometimes you have to be there weekends. People who had full-time jobs — qualified people — were having a difficult time trying to make that commitment. When those things didn’t work out, I couldn’t let it go.”
MHS athletic director Mike Marsh was happy to welcome Allen back to a program she helped build.
“She felt it was time to get back in and wanted to lead the program again,” Marsh said. “She’s a perfect fit.”
When Allen gave up the boys’ program and focused only on the girls’ team, she was back in school pursuing a master’s degree and found herself stretched for time. Much like Snyder, she felt it was the best time to let someone else take over the program and ensure it would stay at a high level.
“I just thought it was time that Bob should have it,” Allen said. “You feel like it’s a good time to step down and let your assistant coach run with it.”
Now she’s ready to take over the reins again in a second stint.
“I’m happy with the decision,” she said. “I discussed it with the people I care about, and everybody thought that it was a good decision. I’m excited.”