On April 9th, 2014, the Westwood tennis courts were renamed the James Hood Tennis Center to honor a former Westwood head tennis coach for all that he contributed to the program.
Coach Hood was head coach for 20 years, from 1988 to 2008, and led the team to 13 5A Team Tennis District Championships. In 1997, he helped the team to win their first Regional Championship and push through all the way to the State Finals. Over the years, Coach Hood had a total of 24 players advance to State Championships, a remarkably high number. However, despite all of his on-court success, it was Coach Hood’s investment in students’ lives both during high school and beyond as a mentor and friend that was invaluable to all of his former students and players.
Though we remember Coach Hood because of the victories to which he led Westwood, he was not only a coach, but also is a mentor and a life-long friend to his players. He was able to bring out the best in them, and made tennis the highlight of their day. Westwood’s current head coach, Travis Dalrymple, played under Coach Hood when he was a student at Westwood and admired him as a coach and a person very much. Coach Dalrymple felt it was necessary to dedicate these courts to Coach Hood because of how much he shaped Westwood tennis and inspired the people around him.
“Coach Hood made such an impact on my life, my teammates’ lives, and Westwood tennis as a whole,” Coach Dalrymple said.
Coach Dalrymple had an engraved stone placed in at the front of the courts to officially name them the James Hood Tennis Center. At a ceremony on April 9th, James Hood and many of his former players came to celebrate and reunite.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today without him,” Coach Dalrymple said. “I want to honor him and his legacy and I hope to have an impact on lives as great as he did.”
A new college scholarship, the Coach James Hood Excellence Scholarship, will be awarded to a player each year. This scholarship was established to honor Coach Hood’s legacy and to recognize the qualities that he valued most in his players: leadership, work ethic, character, academic success, and athletic success. Last year, Vinciane Chen was the 1st player ever to be awarded this scholarship.