By Jim Sullivan
---- — Amy Beaton, 27, is not a Pentucket graduate. She ran cross-country and played basketball and tennis in Haverhill, but she’s about to join a Sachems’ legacy as she starts her career as the girls tennis coach this season.
“Coaching tennis is definitely different from basketball,” said Beaton. “It’s kind of a challenge, but I love it so far.”
Sachem athletics runs in the family for Beaton. Her aunt, Ruth, coaches field hockey, and her aunt, Jayne, coaches golf. Amy Beaton began her Pentucket coaching career as an assistant with the junior varsity girls basketball team six years ago. She was also the JV cross-country coach for three years and coached the freshman girls basketball team for two seasons. But tennis was always something she had her eye on.
“Ever since I started to do basketball (at Pentucket) I wanted to coach tennis,” said Beaton. “I played in high school (myself) and I was the No. 1 singles player. I was going to play in college but then decided that basketball was my main sport, so I played that.”
But tennis still held an attraction for Beaton, who plays frequently.
“I love that it’s a sport that you can teach kids as a lifetime sport,” said Beaton. “It’s just a fun sport to play, although I am competitive when it comes to it. It’s one of those sports when you can teach people of all ages really to love to play the sport.”
Beaton will be taking over for 26-year coach Laurie Dunnet, who retired from the program last year in style, making the deepest state tournament run in the school’s history, all the way to the Division 3 North semifinals. But Beaton says that she wants to start fresh.
“One of the good things is that I’ve gotten so much positive feedback from parents already,” she said. “I also think it helps that I play tennis so I’m able to hit with the girls. I don’t think that the previous coach picked up a racquet when she helped them. So I kind of have taken it upon myself to kind of almost rebuild the program from scratch in running it the way that I see it, which has been nice.”
With only one senior and one junior, the Sachems will be on the inexperienced side. All the better for Beaton.
“That’s one of the things I really do love about this team is that we are so young,” said Beaton. “So I can see myself building them up in the next two to three years to get them to that spot. For me, this year is kind of about getting to know the players. I had only heard one name who was a freshman last year (Nicole Downey) and was the No. 1 singles player. That was kind of the only thing that I knew about the program was that she was really good. I also knew that they had gone far in the tournament. But it’s exciting for me to do it on my own and come in and not know the girls and kind of see who I can develop into better players.”
Helping to keep the Pentucket Beaton dynasty going will be Beaton’s father, Bob, who will be at his daughter’s side as he is in basketball as her assistant coach. Beaton credits her father for all her tennis knowledge and knows he will have more to teach her this season.