Written by Madison Kerley
From California to Arizona and horseback riding to tennis, Laurie Martin’s unusual path has landed her a successful coaching job at Xavier College Preparatory and a spot on a United States Tennis Association National Committee.
Martin was born in Long Beach, California and moved to Chino, California, at just two weeks old. While in Chino, her family lived on a Thoroughbred horse racing farm and Martin grew up doing the 4-H program. She also played softball.
When Martin was a freshman in high school her family moved to Arizona. After the move to Arizona, she was introduced to tennis by a friend she met that had moved from Newport Beach, California. Martin found an almost instant connection with tennis.
“I ended up quitting softball and fell in love with tennis, playing almost every day for hours,” Martin said.
Martin’s first tennis coaching experience was four summers spent at John Gardiner’s Tennis Camps in Sun Valley, Idaho. Next, Martin worked while attending Arizona State University and taught at the Gardiner’s tennis school on Camelback Mountain.
“I would take 7:40 am classes everyday so I could be done with school in the morning so I could teach tennis in the afternoons,” Martin said.
Martin graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.
After graduating, Martin got married. Her and her husband had four kids over four years including a set of twins. She decided to take time off from coaching in order to focus on her family.
Martin’s oldest daughter began to play tennis at a young age and that inspired her to start coaching again. She coached in her neighborhood and worked it around her kids’ schedules.
When Martin’s daughter was a senior in high school at Xavier College Preparatory, the tennis coaching job opened up and her daughter urged her to take it. Martin applied for the job and got it. Sister Lynn Winsor, the athletic director at XCP, said hiring Martin was one of the easiest decisions she has made and Martin was the obvious choice.
Martin took the job with the intention to coach for only five years. Twelve years later and Martin is still the coach at XCP and has coached two of her daughters in that time. The 12 years at XCP have been successful for Martin, full of multiple state and regional championships, as well as many coaching awards.
One recent accomplishment was her appointment by the United States Tennis Association to the High School Task Force. She was one of seven coaches from across the country to be chosen by the president, Katrina Adams, for this position.
Martin’s players think playing for a coach like her is an honor. A coach with her experience and level of knowledge has helped them immensely.
“Coach Martin has taken my game to a new level,” Jordan Craft, a senior on the team, said. “I thought I was good before coming to Xavier, but with her help I am a better player than I ever thought I would be.”