No. 8 Sports Story of the Year: The Christy era ends

Jim Christy coached tennis for 33 years. (Credit: Garret Meade)
Jim Christy coached tennis for 33 years. (Credit: Garret Meade)

A momentous change came to the Mattituck High School girls tennis team this year when Jim Christy retired as the Tuckers’ coach after 33 years on the job.

Christy said he made the difficult decision in order to spend more time with his family. He and his wife of 50 years, Betty, split their time between Mattituck and The Villages, Fla. They have four children and eight grandchildren.

“We would like a chance to see them,” Christy, 72, said. “When you begin to start to think about life, time is limited and you want to make sure that you’re spending that time wisely. I’m giving something up, but I’m replacing it with something I love even more.”

Christy may be better known for his achievements as a basketball player for Georgetown University. The former guard was inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame in 1975. In 2007, he was named to Georgetown’s all-century team along with 24 other honorees.

Christy was known for remembering his players more than records and championships. Records in The Suffolk Times’ archives are incomplete, but one can get a sense of Christy’s success by examining what his teams had done since 1999. With the exception of a losing season in 2010, the Tuckers went 162-41, won five league championships and posted their third undefeated regular season under Christy in 2011, when they went 17-1.

Christy, who estimates he has coached over 400 tennis players, takes special pride in the number of players he has cut from his team: zero.

Christy said the coaching life has brought him a lot of joy.

“It’s been great,” he said, “and I’d love a chance to do it over again.”

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