Craig Stone

Published in the May 2, 2018 edition.

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — Girls’ tennis head coach Craig Stone added another milestone to his impressive resume last week.

Stone was named as the Massachusetts Intersection Athletic Association (MIAA) Girls’ Tennis Coach of the Year for the 2017-2018 school year.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the MIAA,” said Stone in an email sent to the Villager. “I am especially proud of the players, administrators and the community that have made this possible. I would especially like to thank Chris DuBose, the girls’ tennis coach at Medfield High School, and the North Sectional Girls Individual Tournament director, who nominated me for the award.”

MIAA Assistant Director Dick Baker congratulated Stone for being named MIAA Girls’ Tennis Coach of the Year in a letter.

“On behalf of the MIAA Educational Athletics Department and Coaches Education Program, I congratulate you on being nominated and selected as the recipient of the 2018 MIAA Girls’ Tennis Coach of the Year Award,” said Baker. “Your selection was based upon excellence of character, impact upon students and community, and your coaching credentials.”

Stone will be receiving the award during the MIAA Awards Recognition Banquet on Thursday, May 24, taking place at the DoubleTree Hotel in Milton. Stone will also be the Massachusetts nominee for the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Section I Coach of the Year Award for 2018-2019. 

The Pioneer girls’ tennis head coach has compiled a 588-88 record since he started coaching the team in 1981. He helped the Pioneers win Cape Ann League titles in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2015.

Additionally, Stone helped the Pioneers win North Sectional championships in 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The Pioneers advanced to the North Sectional finals in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Stone guided the Pioneers to state championships in 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2014. He was named CAL coach of the year in 1983, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1996, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. He was named as The Boston Globe’s Coach of the Year in 1988, 1997, 2008 and 2014. He has been running Lynnfield Community Schools’ Middle School Tennis Club since 1990.

The mild mannered and humble coach attributed his success on the court to a number of factors.

“The demographics of the community, court and club accessibility, instructional LCS tennis programs that begin in elementary school and carry through to middle school,” said Stone. “Obviously, success breeds success, and when you have established a successful program over the years, students want to be involved with it. It is a credit to the many alumni that have played before and have made tennis at LHS a priority in their lives.”

When asked what is the most rewarding part of coaching girls’ tennis, Stone said, “watching the players achieve success.”

“And that success takes on many forms, and not necessarily getting the ‘W,’” added Stone. “Watching them become more involved and empowered during their high school careers is very satisfying. Watching a freshman JV player hang in there and become a varsity player, maybe not until their senior year, is a very gratifying and rewarding experience.”

Stone said the most fun aspect of coaching is watching “the enthusiasm, the energy, and the sense of accomplishment generated by the players.” He noted the Pioneers’ mantra is Together Each Achieves More (TEAM).

In addition to being named MIAA coach of the year, Stone was the recipient of the North Shore Student-Athlete Lifetime Commitment Award in 2013. Lynnfield Rotary named him an Honorary Rotarian in 2015.

Stone worked as an elementary physical education teacher in town from 1972-2016, mostly at Summer Street School. He has been the Lynnfield High varsity wrestling coach since 1976, and has compiled a 528-323-6 record while leading the grapplers.