Mike McManus has coached tennis at Hopkins for ten years, and, in his words, he plans to continue coaching “forever. When I retire here it will be as the Girls Varsity Tennis Coach.”
Besides coaching Girls Varsity Tennis and Junior School Tennis, Coach McManus coaches weight training classes and three squash teams. He also mentioned, “My secret most fun thing that I do here is being an advisor to the seventh grade.”
McManus has played tennis for almost his whole life. He said that he’s been playing “as far back as [he] can remember, so three.” He originally became interested in the sport because his sisters were tennis players, and McManus spent a lot of time on the court with them. He consistently ranked in the top ten for New England Tennis during his school tennis career. He won high-school All-American and high-school All-State. He also won multiple collegiate tournaments at the University of Connecticut. While succeeding on the court through high school, he began coaching at the Ridge Top Club. It was his first experience as a tennis coach and it ultimately led him to coaching at Hopkins.
At home, McManus enjoys time with his three sons. He said, “I spend a lot of my time coaching, studying with them, traveling with them, and taking them on day trips to different cities.” When not with his kids, McManus enjoys watching professional sports and he is a huge fan of the men’s and women’s UConn basketball teams, the New York Knicks and the Green Bay Packers. He also plays and watches platform tennis competitively.
Coach McManus started at Hopkins in 2013 when a player informed him of a tennis coaching position opening up at the school. He said, “I started coaching because I was a teaching pro where I taught a lot of high-level kids and I missed the team environment when I played team sports.” This led him to apply for the job and he has gained that team environment again here at Hopkins.
Throughout his ten years at Hopkins, McManus has made an impact on many students on and off the court. Co-captain Lera Strickland ’23 said, “Great coaches are leaders on and off the courts and McManus is exactly that. McManus’s fighting spirit is infectious. He firmly believes that we can compete against any team, no matter how strong, and his support has made me into the firecracker of a player that I am today.”
McManus has inspired determination and perseverance throughout the girls, not only in tennis but also in life. Claire Russell ’25 said, “Mike McManus has inspired me to be my best and help me every day to reach my new potential. He has instilled in me a strong work ethic and a “never give up” attitude, which has helped me not only in tennis but also in life.”
Last year’s season was extremely successful for Girls Varsity Tennis. The team won the FAA tournament title and tied for the Fairchester League regular season title. They lost in the finals of New Englands, but McManus stated, “We’re going to win this year.” At the end of the season their record was 10-1 for the regular season and 12-1 overall.
McManus strongly believes in team bonding and creating a chemistry between the team. He stated, “Assistant Coach Susan Bennitt and I have come up with a theme for the program that we talk about at the beginning meeting and throughout the season and it’s creating a culture of chemistry.” They apply this culture of chemistry through various techniques. For example, when someone yells ‘yeah Hop’ on the court it means that they need support or that they’ve just had a successful match. McManus said, “We’ll be at a match and I’ll be walking back from the locker room and I’ll be 200-300 yards away and suddenly you hear someone yell ‘yeah Hop!’ and you hear all of the other girls one by one yell ‘yeah Hop!’ and the girls never feel like they’re alone on the court.”
Co-captain Amy Metrick ’23 said, “The tradition creates an amazing environment of support.” She continued, “The ‘Yeah Hop!’ is definitely part of our supportive team environment. Since tennis is often a more individual sport, our ‘yeah hops’ are a way to stay connected.”
Besides supporting the girls through team bonding McManus also supports them on a personal level. Coach Susan Bennitt said, “Mike is a transparent communicator and a brilliant strategist when it comes to bringing the champion out of each of our players. They bloom with his coaching because the extremely hard work they’re willing to give to the team under his leadership was never made so fun and rewarding.”
As the new tennis season fast approaches, Coach McManus believes it will be a fun season. He’s excited about captains Metrick and Strickland as well. He said, “We are so lucky to have people that are so passionate about the team, so passionate about tennis!”