Darrell Moody: Baker-Roberts steps down as CHS tennis coach
The name Diane Baker-Roberts has been synonomous with tennis at Carson High for the past 30-plus years.
All good things eventually come to an end, and that was the case earlier this week when the 57-year-old veteran girls tennis coach, who taught math and physical education, and served a brief stint as athletic director at CHS, announced she was resigning her position.
If you know Baker-Roberts, you know she was always telling me she was going to quit for the last 10 years. It got to be a running joke.
“It’s the right time,” Baker-Roberts said earlier this week. “I just had my third back surgery, and have to eventually have both of my knees replaced. I finally wanted to have a free fall.
“Coaching the girls has been great. We’ve had good kids and good students. I’ll probably be around to help if they need me. I just didn’t want to do it five days a week anymore.”
Bob Bateman, CHS athletic director, said Baker-Roberts will be missed.
“She’s been a blue and white gal her whole life; student, teacher and coach,” Bateman said. “She has been a very good coach for all those years.
“We were very fortunate that she came back to coach after she retired from the school district. She has a lot of knowledge about the game, and she is able to practice drills with the kids. We’re going to miss her.”
Baker-Roberts said her medical issues were not the main reason she retired, just a part of it. She has had three back surgeries, however, the last one on Dec. 30. Her first two surgeries were in the mid-90s.
She said a date hasn’t been set for her knee replacements, but the injuries have not allowed her to play any tennis, and if you know Baker-Roberts she likes to be on the court whether it’s playing or teaching.
“I have to talk to my doctor about the knee replacement,” she said. “I took a fall, but it wasn’t tennis related. My knees are just old. I’m having the left one done first and then the right one.”
Stepping down, once she is healthy, is going to enable Baker-Roberts to play tennis regularly.
“There was a group of women who I played tennis with in Reno, and I always had to leave to be back in Carson by 2 p.m.,” Baker-Roberts said.
Baker-Roberts has a pretty good game, too.
She was Carson High’s last state champion, teaming with Rebecca Ford to win a state doubles title back in 1974.
The Senators were unable to win a league or zone title during Baker-Roberts’ tenure. But when you’re going up against the likes of Galena and Reno, that isn’t a surprise.
“Those kids (Reno and Galena) play all year round,” she said. “They take lessons and play in junior tournaments. We were unable to get that commitment here in Carson.”
Baker-Roberts said Justin Clark, a local teacher and coach at an academy in Lake Tahoe, got more kids involved with the sport.
“He wants me to help him at the academy again,” she said.
“He said I could sit and observe; help without being on the court.”
Baker-Roberts said one of her teams did upset Galena one year, but never beat Reno.
“We had a good chance when Gina Scolari was on the team,” Baker-Robert said.
“It was in the mid-80s. There was a powderpuff football game that week, and when we playd Reno, all the girls were banged up and bruised. I was so mad.
“I’ve had a lot of good individual players, but just not enough depth. I never had a losing season until a couple of years ago.”