The man behind the bounce back in local tennis at both Petaluma High School and in the Petaluma community is moving back into the stressful world of private club management.
Chris Horne who, in just his second year of high school coaching, directed the Petaluma High School boys team to the Sonoma County League championship, has accepted a job to manage the Marin Tennis Club, and has resigned from his coaching job.
Horne was preparing to add the PHS girls team to his coaching agenda when the private club made him an offer he and wife, Patsy Love, felt they couldn’t pass up.
Horne isn’t completely cutting his ties to Petaluma. He will remain president of the Petaluma Tennis Association, an organization he founded in an effort to bring the community’s diverse tennis groups and individuals togehter under one umbrella.
Although the Marin Tennis Club is one of the best private clubs in the Bay Area, Horne, about a year ago, withdrew his application for the manager’s position to remain at Petaluma High.
Things changed when his wife lost her high-stress job as manager of the Scott Valley Swim and Tennis Club in Mill Valley and the Marin Tennis Club position again became open.
“It was one of the best things that could have happened,” Horne said. “It takes a lot of stress off my wife and will let me do what I do best.”
Horne has extensive experience running private clubs. He has managed the Tiburon Peninsula Club, the Rafael Racquetball Club and twice the Rolling Hills Club in Novato.
Despite the opportunity and the challenge of again managing a private club, Horne leaves the Petaluma High job and his own private lesson business in Petaluma reluctantly. He said he is actively recruiting someone to take over the high school teams. “I have some ideas,” he said. “I will feel better when there is someone lined up to take the baton.”
Whoever takes the baton will have quality athletes to work with, including the core of a boys team that last season won the Sonoma County League championship.
“The boys teams will probably win the SCL title for at least the next two years,” Horne said. “They have a lot of good players coming back. The girls will be strong contenders for the league title as well.”
Horne said giving up his relationship with the players will be the most difficult part of the change. “The last two years coaching have been the most cherished years of my life,” he said.
“Coaching is mentoring, not just teaching the game. If I can make a difference in helping players take the next step in their life, I’ve done my job,” he said.
Not that he ever overlooked teaching the game. “Because I am a pro I was able to bring my knowledge of the game to the team, to teach them what they need to know about the game of tennis.”
But he added. that is only part of the job. “You have to be there for the players, to give them an ear to listen and someone to support them.”
Even as he was coaching the Petaluma High team to a league championship and offering private lessons, Horne has found time to help unite the Petaluma tennis community through the Petaluma Tennis Association, an organization that, in just two years, as grown to more than 250 members.