Townsend retires from coaching tennis after 13 years


Richard Pack

Coach Jason Townsend talks to the girls varsity team before a round of matches.

After 13 years of coaching, Jason Townsend is stepping down as the head coach of the girls tennis team.

“It is a really difficult decision for me to step away from the kids and the parents and the family that we have built because it is such a great thing,” Townsend said. “I am going to still be involved, probably come to some practices and some of the matches. I just don’t want to be the coach on record anymore.”

Townsend originally coached football for four years before he transitioned to coach girls tennis.


“It just kind of worked out, I always had played tennis since I was a little kid. I never played in high school or college because I always played baseball in high school which was at the same time,” Townsend said. “I just happened to meet a guy by the name of Lew Conley, who was our tennis coach at the time. And he found out that I had an interest in tennis, and said: ‘Look if you are wanting to make a change, why don’t you come work with me for a year?’ So I agreed to be his JV coach for the girls team the next year. Eventually, he offered me the chance to take over because he felt comfortable with what I believed, and me continuing what he had built.”

For senior Claire Martin, who competed in the state doubles tournament as a junior, Townsend’s coaching style differed from some of her previous coaches.

“I really like him as a coach. He is firm and very direct, but he knows what he is talking about, as long as you don’t take what he says the wrong way. He knows what he doing and he really just wants the best out of all his players during practice and matches. He always has a plan,” Martin said.

After four years of coaching the girls team, Townsend was offered the head coach position for the boys tennis team as well.

“I first met Townsend when I was watching my older brother play for him. I thought he was pretty scary on first impression, because he was such a big guy,” senior tennis player Kenji Yanaba said. “I hadn’t heard about Mr. Townsend retiring until the banquet last year, the girls knew about it before, but I didn’t. I was surprised.”

At the end of the 2015 season, Yanaba and alumni William Tong won the state doubles tournament, which is one of Townsend’s lasting memories of coaching tennis.

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He knows what he’s doing and he really just wants the best out of all his players during practice and matches. He always has a plan.

—Claire Martin


“One of the most exciting events I have been in is probably the semifinal match two years ago at the boys state competition. My two players, William Tong and Kenji Yanaba won the semi-final over the defending state champions in the doubles tournament,” Townsend said. “They did go on to win, but the final was somewhat anticlimactic, we killed that team. But the semifinal we had to go the three sets against the defending champs, and it was a nail bitter, point for point the whole way.”

Townsend has also had success on the state level with the girls team. During the 2015 season, Martin and senior Ava Larsen placed fifth in the doubles tournament.

“My favorite experience would probably be when Ava Larsen and I went to state last year. We got to spend a lot of time with Mr. and Mrs. Townsend because we traveled down there all together. It was something really special that was outside the West High tennis community.”

To send off Townsend, the girls team has organized a team party.

“We are having our varsity banquet at Sammy Connor’s house so we can also have a party for Townsend,” Martin said. “It will be the 10 girls, their families and Townsend. It’s just going to be a celebration for him.”