Chuck Hill Tennis Complex

DATE:     November 13, 2017

TO:           Holt School Board Meeting; Public Comment

RE:           Name Holt High School tennis courts the “Chuck Hill Tennis Complex”

(Click here for 2017 Chuck Hill Tennis Complex handout)

PUBLIC COMMENT (Spoken)

Esteemed school board members and fellow Holt community residents,

My name is Mollie Bort.  I am a Holt High School graduate, Class of 2007, and I currently live at 2560 Sorority Lane in Holt.  I am here representing the Holt Community Foundation marketing director, Ryan Bort, who is my husband and currently nursing a sore mouth after some dental work today.  The foundation’s Executive Director, Dr. John Girdwood (Class of 1997), is also here today in the audience.  Let me begin by recognizing the record-breaking season and Regional Title by the Holt Boys Varsity Tennis team and coach Russ Olcheske, who has coached Holt boys’ tennis since May 2007.  Go Rams!

This evening, we would like you to consider our proposal to name the Holt High School tennis courts in honor of a tremendous Holt family and former coach, Chuck Hill.  We propose the following name:

The Chuck Hill Tennis Complex

I will convey three quick points verbally to you now in addition to a printed handout that is also posted to our website (holtcommunity.org/tennis).  Our proposal includes the following:

  • Support for naming after Chuck Hill and Family
  • Consideration of others who might also be deserving of this honor
  • Strategies for future development of the tennis complex

About Chuck Hill and Family

Charles Lester Hill III, aka “Chuck,” played tennis in high school, the Big Ten, and many USTA events.  He started a junior program while he was a player at Purdue University that involved hundreds of players.  After college, he moved to Holt with his family and volunteered to coach juniors and adults.  He helped create a feeder system through Delhi Parks and Rec youth classes.  He hired high school tennis players to mentor young children, ages 4-18, and he taught players to have a positive attitude towards tennis.  Chuck always encouraged a fun and positive atmosphere through tennis.  He hosted hot dog cookouts every Wednesday in the summer to celebrate tennis and the meaning of community.  He donated his time and grill each week, just happy to include people, always smiling.  He raised 3 children through Holt Public Schools: Chip (’97), Matt (’99), and Jennie (’04).  All played high school tennis and Chuck volunteered on the JV and Varsity tennis teams (boys and girls) at Holt High School.  Chuck wasn’t a paid coach, so he volunteered his time to work with the doubles team, talking strategy with players and coaches.  He took the JV girls coaching position with the help of Deb Larner to build the program.  His first year, he coached 40 young ladies.  The program grew so large that he created an A and B squad to ensure the girls got adequate/competitive matches.  Chuck was a great Holt Ram.  He passed away unexpectedly this year.

Chuck leaves us his 2 sons, 1 daughter, and wife Diane.  His eldest son Chip (’97) played 4 years varsity tennis, 2 as captain, and coached Delhi Parks and Rec.  Chuck’s son Matt played 4 years varsity at Holt High School, then Ferris State, and is now Head Men’s Coach at Arizona State.  Daughter Jennie is the only Holt player ever to go the state finals all 4 varsity years.  Chuck’s wife Diane, tennis mom and wife for more than 40 years, lives in Holt and took the photos in Appendix 2.

Consideration of Others

When we began the process to propose the naming of the tennis courts, we considered (i) length of time in the community; (ii) contributions to the community and public schools; (iii) and impact on the tennis community.  We reached out to board members, several alumni, and another nationally renowned tennis family who also lived in Holt for more than 20 years.  All of these individuals wholeheartedly supported the name to be “The Chuck Hill Tennis Complex.”

Strategies for the Future

We know individuals like Coaches Russ Olcheske, Mike Smith, Patti Somers, and many others have contributed great things to Holt Tennis.  Chuck coached for more than a decade and it has been several years since his tenure.  We believe any new tennis facility can serve as a location for recognizing future coaches, perhaps following a similar time cycle as this proposal.

Thank you for considering our proposal to name the tennis courts at Holt High School “The Chuck Hill Tennis Complex.”  Please review the handout, forward to the building/grounds committee, and Dr. Girdwood can answer questions.  Thanks!

Appendix 1

Charles “Chuck” L. Hill III

Chuck Hill played tennis all 4 years on the varsity team at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, IN graduating in 1970.  Upon graduating high school, Chuck attended Purdue University where he was a walk-on to the tennis team and played his freshman and sophomore year.  While attending Purdue, Chuck started a junior program in Indiana where the program grew to over 200 junior tennis players.  During his sophomore year of college, Chuck was involved in a very serious motorcycle accident that ended his college tennis career.  After recovery, Chuck later went on to play local tournaments and USTA events in his adult years.

Chuck Hill
Chuck Hill

Chuck raised 3 children through Holt Public Schools: Chip (’97), Matt (’99), and Jennie (’04).  All played high school tennis and Chuck volunteered on the JV and Varsity tennis teams (boys and girls) at Holt High School.  Chuck passed away unexpected in 2017 and leaves behind his children and his wife, Diane, who still lives in Holt.

Holt High School

Once Chip (’97), Matt (’99) and Jennie (’04) joined the Holt high school teams, Chuck became involved in volunteering on the JV and Varsity tennis teams (boys and girls) at Holt High School.  While he wasn’t a paid coach, Chuck volunteered his time to work with the doubles team, talk strategy with players and coaches, and hit with the kids before and after practice was his passion.  Later in his years of coaching, he took the JV girls coaching position with the help of Deb Larner to build the program.  In his first year, he was able to encourage and teach 40 young ladies how to play tennis.  It grew to be large enough that he created an A and B squad to ensure the girls got adequate/competitive matches.

Community

Chuck became very involved with the summer Delhi Parks and Recreation leagues in Holt where he volunteered time to coach juniors and adults.  To continue his love of tennis, Chuck worked closely with Parks and Rec to help create a feeder system through youth classes.  He helped by hiring high school tennis players to mentor young children, ages 4-18, he helped teach the game of tennis, and he taught players to have a positive attitude towards tennis.  Chuck always provided a fun and positive atmosphere through tennis.  He hosted hotdog cookouts every Wednesday in the summer to celebrate tennis and the meaning of community.  By donating his time and grill each week, he was just happy to include people.  Chuck also provided lessons to the elementary schools in an effort to expose kids to the options of tennis at a young age.  He would take the Delhi Tennis summer camp workers with him to show them what it meant to be a face in the community and what it meant to be a leader amongst high school athletics.

Family

Diane Hill became a tennis wife upon meeting Chuck and a dedicated tennis mom as the kids became more involved with tennis.  Whether this meant carpooling to summer lessons, tennis tournaments, or year-round tennis programs – this definitely included other Holt Tennis alumni!  Diane attended high school tennis matches that her kids played in from the years 1997-2004!  If not cheering on her own children, it was known that Diane would be cheering on her other “children,” laughing with other tennis parents, getting blankets for team members, or volunteering for whatever was asked of her.

Chip Hill (eldest son) started his tennis career at the age of 8 on the Kiwains Park courts in the summer Parks and Rec program.  In 7th grade, Chip began taking year-round lessons at Court One in Okemos with plans of playing on the Holt High School team.  As a Freshman, Chip made the varsity team playing 1 doubles and continued on the team throughout his high school years playing 1 and 2 singles while serving as Captain of the team his last 2 years.  After graduating from Holt High School in 1997, Chip went back to his roots and joined the summer Delhi Parks and Rec league as the Assistant Coach, teaching alongside the Coach he started with at the age of 8.  During Chip’s college freshman and sophomore summer years, he returned back to Holt to take over the kids and adult summer program with plans to grow the program – which meant enlisting his brother Matt as his Assistant Coach.  Chip graduated from Western Michigan University in 2001 and participated in their intramural tennis program all 4 years.  While living in Michigan, Chip volunteered his time for 3 years to a local swim and tennis club in Farmington Hills where the youth tennis program doubled in size over 3 years.  Now living in South Carolina, Chip is still involved in tennis along with his two daughters (Kate and Reese) and can still be found volunteering at the local tennis club.

Matt Hill started his tennis career at the age of 6 on the courts at Kiwanis Park in the summer Delhi Parks and Rec program.  In 5th grade, Matt began taking year-round lessons at Court One in Okemos with plans of playing on the Holt High School team.  As a freshman, Matt made the varsity team playing 2 singles and continued on the team throughout his high school years playing 1 singles.  Matt joined his brother in the summer of ‘97 at the Delhi Parks and Rec league as a coach.  During the next 3 summers, Matt returned back to Holt to help Chip take over the kids and adult summer program with plans to grow the program.  Matt followed his love of coaching and went on to become the JV girls coach at East Lansing High School and the Varsity boys coach at East Lansing where the team finished top 4 in the state in 2001.   Matt was then diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma.  After 10 months of chemotherapy, and a total titanium joint replacement on the right knee, Matt went on to play college tennis at Ferris State University.  Matt chose Ferris State because the program was top 10 in the nation during this time and had a business degree that specialized in Professional Tennis Management.  After finishing at Ferris State, Matt’s dream was to coach Division 1 tennis.  He began his coaching career at the University of Alabama on the men’s side while earning a Master’s in Sports Administration and Kinesiology.  After taking the Alabama tennis program to top 10 in the nation in Division 1, Matt moved on to successful coaching careers at Mississippi State University and the University of South Florida.  Matt now serves as the Men’s Head Coach at Arizona State University where he is working on growing the program at the university and partnering with local clubs and the USTA to grow the game all throughout the city of Phoenix.  Matt’s wife Katie, and his daughter Caroline (18 months), can be found alongside Matt at the local clubs or the ASU tennis courts in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jennie (Hill) Boike started playing tennis when she was 4 years old in the driveway.  For as long as she can remember, she was involved with tennis.  Whether this was dropping her older brothers off at Kiwanis or Elliott tennis courts, Court One for lessons, or tennis tournaments on Saturdays and Sundays.  The excitement and passion she had for the sport stemmed from her dad and brothers.  She saw the closeness and encouragement from her parents and siblings start at a young age.  She followed in the footsteps of her brothers to be involved in the summer tennis lessons as a young player, along with the indoor lessons and tournaments to improve her skills and development.  The years to follow brought many hours of practicing with her dad, and eventually teaming up to teach the summer lessons at Kiwanis Park.  Jennie played four years of varsity tennis under the leadership of her dad, Patti Somers, and Sue and Jim Powers.  She was a part of the teams that went to the state finals all four years of her high school career; she is the only athlete to do so in Holt’s history!  She played 2nd doubles, 1st doubles (2 seasons), and 2nd singles.  She was honored with the awards of all-state her sophomore and junior years, and all-area her freshman and senior years.  After graduating in 2004, she continued to play tennis at Central Michigan University on the club team and reached 32nd in the nation as a team.  While in college, she continued to teach in the summers working with the youth in the community.  Jennie taught in the Delhi program for 10 years and eventually directed (2 years), under the leadership of Tim Tilma.  After college, Jennie coached with Patti Somers, working as her assistant of the varsity girls program.  Jennie later became the JV boys’ tennis coach from 2013-2016.  She recently stepped down from coaching after having a son, Nash (18 months).  Jennie is still connected and encouraged by the success of where the summer and high school programs started and where they are heading.  Jennie is hoping to come back to coaching in the future.

Appendix 2

Photos of Tennis Courts

(2017-11-12)

HHS Tennis Courts
HHS Tennis Courts
HHS Tennis Courts
HHS Tennis Courts
HHS Tennis Courts
HHS Tennis Courts

Consideration/Strategies

Process to name in honor of Chuck Hill:

  • Charles “Chuck” L. Hill III, 64, of Holt, MI passed away suddenly on Thursday, 4/27/2017
  • Naming idea originated by John Girdwood around 4/27/2017 (more than 6 months before public comment)
  • Girdwood first proposed the idea to one school board member and asked about process to complete
  • Girdwood inquired to second board member about process and was instructed to propose at public comment
  • Girdwood then proposed the idea to two families: Hills and one other prominent Holt/USTA tennis family
  • Both families and the entire Holt Community Foundation board of directors in full support
  • Several Hill family members compile narrative used in public comment (Appendix 1)
  • Diane Hill takes photos of tennis courts (Appendix 2)
  • Girdwood prepares public comment

Considerations of others who might have courts named for them:

  • Kiwanis Courts are available to be named
    • Coach Smith began with the program when HHS played at Kiwanis
    • Patti Somers also spent many years at the Kiwanis and Elliott courts
    • Ferman Family was more geared toward community (than HHS) so Kiwanis is more appropriate
  • Coach Olcheske
    • Still actively coaching
    • Potential for new building or new courts around the time Coach Olcheske retires
  • Naming the complex and the courts
    • We propose the name “Chuck Hill Tennis Complex” for entire tennis facility at Holt High School
    • There are several “sections” (or individual courts) at the facility that can be named for individuals
    • Can easily be a “Coach Smith Court,” “Coach Somers Courts,” and “Coach Olcheske Court” added

Future:

  • Holt Community Foundation can provide full funding for the signage
  • We can design the signage but will completely defer to the Athletics Director (Ms. Sadler) and Board of Ed.
  • We recommend a ceremony and unveiling of the signage to coincide with spring tennis season
    • Hill Family can attend at that time
  • Holt Community Foundation will consider funding other signs for other court sections/individuals
  • Holt Community Foundation will agree to maintain the signs in perpetuity
    • We ask for a contact person and working relationship with Board of Education for this purpose
  • Holt Community Foundation considers this part of our ongoing “Community Health and Environment” initiative
    • We have also installed an outdoor classroom by the pond and support maintaining the gardens
  • This public comment is meant for consideration but does not establishes a contract, implied or otherwise