MSMS tennis team welcomes new coaches Troy and Tonya King


Kate McElhinney

With 15 years of coaching experience, Troy and Tonya King are hoping to lead the MSMS tennis team to victory.

Chloe Sharp, Staff Writer

For Troy and Tonya King, the MSMS tennis team’s new coaches, this is a banner week: They’ll be coaching their first official MSMS tennis match on March 4 at Columbus High School.

“We’re trying to put together the best team to win the district, go to state, and try to win state.” Troy King said.

The Kings discovered tennis fairly late in their life but once they did, it became a passion for them.

“[I knew I wanted to be a tennis coach] the first time I picked up a racket,” Tonya King said. 

“We used to watch tennis on TV all the time, and one day we were just sitting around the house, and I said to Tonya we’re gonna go buy some rackets,” Troy King recalls. “So we went and bought some rackets, and we trained ourselves, and we got better and better and better. We kept watching it on TV, and when our son got to be about nine, we decided we wanted to coach. That’s when we got into the USTA (United States Tennis Association), junior league.”

The Kings have been coaching tennis together for 15 years. They coached their son from the time he was nine years old until he was a junior in high school. Before coming to MSMS, they coached in the USTA junior league over the summer and at Noxubee County High School. However, coaching at MSMS has been a very different experience for them than their previous coaching jobs.

“We coached Noxubee County High School for five years, and we practiced after school with them, and we could practice as late as we wanted to, but with MSMS, it’s a totally different schedule. Because MSMS is mostly based on academics rather than sports, whereas most high schools are some about academics, but they’re a lot about sports also, so it’s a little more difficult because we’re having to work faster and harder.” Troy King said. 

The Kings are only able to hold weekday practices from 4:30-6:30 p.m., giving them significantly less time to get their team ready to compete than they’re used to. 

“It’s just a limited time that we have, so that means it’s a challenge to try to get them ready in a short period of time because we will be playing. We don’t have the quality time that we need with them, but we’re going to put in the quality work to make up for that time,” Troy King said.

Junior Jillian Snodgrass expressed gratitude for the Kings’ coaching. 

“Both coaches seem very invested in what they do, and I look forward to a season learning from their expertise,” Snodgrass said.

The Kings said they use different coaching strategies that are complementary to each other so that they work like a well-oiled machine on the tennis court. 

“Since we’ve been married for so long, we know each other pretty well,” Troy King said. “I already know what she can do, and I know what I need to do once she sends the kids to me. And the same is vice versa if they start with me first; I’ll do my part and then send them to her and she already knows what to do. So I think we make a pretty good team.”