Charlie Hibbard is our new head tennis coach here at Southern Nazarene University. She came to the coaching position in August 2013, right before school began. It has been a long way back.
Coach Charlie Hibbard attended Bethany Nazarene College in 1975 and also was part of the tennis team. She graduated with a degree in Kinesiology in 1979. While Hibbartdwas away from SNU, she changed occupation a few times along the road. After she got married and moved to Ada, she began to work at a couple of different sporting goods stores and then opened her own tennis shop and ran several tennis leagues.
East Central University (ECU) took a big piece of Hibbard’s life. One day she got a call from ECU saying that the women’s tennis team needed a tennis coach. After this call, Hibbard lingered there at ECU for 20 years. Coach Hibbard started with just the women’s team. However, when ECU said they were going to drop the men’s team, she took it over. Since that time, she coached both programs for 14 years.
“I really enjoyed doing both. It was a lot more work, but I was doing what I loved,” Hibbard said.
Life took an unexpected turn for Hibbard when she and her husband decided to separate. After this, Hibbard decided that she needed a change in her life. SNU heard about her life situation, and fortunately, they were looking for a tennis coach. After a couple of phone calls, an interview and prayers, SNU offered a job to her, which she accepted.
“SNU has grown and changed with the times, yet being Christ centered has stayed the same. There are a lot of new buildings, but a lot of familiar faces!” said Hibbard with a smile.
Hibbard had to face some huge challenges right away. It was hard, taking a new job in another town just a couple of weeks before school started, but she definitely made the best of it. When she got here, she was informed that the SNU tennis team had only 4 players instead of having at least 6. Then, Hibbard tried to get students on campus to come out for the team, tried to find players to come in January and also, scheduled matches for the spring while working with the team already here. Usually, this process would begin before the fall semester started.
The facilities are in decent shape at this moment, only needing to replace a windscreen and the nets soon. Also, the tennis team would like and need to add 2-3 more courts so that we can have actual home matches, instead of using Ripper Park, The OKC Tennis Ctr., or any of the Edmond facilities. Hibbard keeps working in this area by this day.
Hibbard pointed out positive things that she is proud of. Last season the tennis team struggled a lot through every single match because of having 5 players.
“I hope we do as well this season as we did last!” said Hibbard. Last year’s team had to overcome being shorthanded every match. Despite the odds, they still finished in the top 4 in the nation in the NCCAA. She is happy to announce that the SNU tennis team has brought in 3 new girls, 2 from Oklahoma and 1 from the Ukraine. Coach Hibbard is still working on bringing in 1 or 2 more in January. Finally, the goal for this coming Spring season is to win the GAC and go on to the NCAA National Tournament.