When the news came last June that longtime coach Jay McGinness was stepping down, the search got underway for his replacement. After careful deliberation, Woodinville athletic director Cathy Boyce tabbed Betty Hummer.
Hummer, who has been coaching the Falcon junior varsity for six years, expressed gratitude toward McGinness.
“Jay was very easy to talk to and very helpful,” Hummer said. “He gave me a recommendation [for the Woodinville job]. He’s just an all-around awesome person. I learned a lot with him. He made it fun. He helped me to become a better teacher and better person.”
Over the years, McGinness was beloved by his players in part for eccentric behavior. He’d spontaneously speak with a Russian accent. He’d give out shoelace tags to the girl players for good performances (these were highly prized by the girls). And he’d build a stockpile of Cadbury eggs and hand them out to players when they shut out an opponent in a set.
McGinness may be gone, but Hummer has her own tradition: She always bakes cookies for her JV teams before every match.
As soon as she got promoted to varsity head coach, Hummer’s JV players suddenly had a question. “They asked me, `Who are you making cookies for this year?’” Hummer said. “Of course they know the answer. I’ll try to make them for everyone. But oh my gosh, that’s a lot of kids. We have 36 kids in the program. I told them I was going to need to take donations for chocolate chips.”
But of course, Hummer didn’t get hired just because she’s Woodinville’s answer to Mrs. Fields. She loves tennis and knows it inside and out. She began playing twenty-five years ago, when her son needed a playing partner for practice. Hummer loved it so much that she began playing on her own teams, which continues to this day. Currently she owns a 4.5 USTA rank.
She’s also an extrovert who loves seeing kids improve. “You want the kids to have fun -- they’re going to play better if they do!” Hummer said. “My goal is to help the kids enjoy tennis so much that they will play throughout their lives. I also like the teamwork aspect. I want the kids to support each other.”
As of this writing, Woodinville is 0-1 on the young season. They have matches this week at home against Eastlake (Sept 18) and on the road at Newport (Sept 19).
Hummer is joined by new assistant coach/JV coach Aricka Smith.