Created: August 25, 2020 03:36 PM
You can call it the changing of the guard, so to speak, for the Edina girls tennis program.
Jaime Gaard-Chapman has replaced legendary coach Steve Paulsen as coach of the Edina high schools girls tennis team. Gaard-Chapman played for Paulsen while she attended Edina and won four team state titles.
"Steve Paulsen and I go way back when I played for him back in high school. We work together at Interlachen Country Club and have built a great relationship in tennis. I have the utmost respect for him and it's my job to maintain the excellence for our players to have the best experience they can have while in high school," said Gaard-Chapman.
***To see footage from Edina's practice and hear from Jaime Gaard-Chapman and select athletes, CLICK PLAY ON THE VIDEO BOX***
Paulsen left the storied program with 608 victories, and 23 state championships in his 28 years. That winning mentality should trickle down with Gaard-Chapman now in charge.
"Don't get me wrong everyone wants to win. However, we want to make sure that all of our athletes have a sense of core values, respect and integrity towards their approach in what we do. We want every girl to have a positive experience while in school. Winning is just a bonus if it happens," Gaard-Chapman added.
The Hornets have won four straight state titles. Teammates Lizzy Van Ert and Ingrid Smith would love nothing more than to have a chance to defend their title.
"I can't believe we have a chance to play this season. I will say going to state is the last thing on my mind. I can't be happier just having a chance to practice with my friends during this new normal of my senior year," said Smith, a senior.
"I've known coach Gaard-Chapman for a long time. I believe it's a natural fit for her to take over the program. I couldn't be happier that she's my coach. She can understand what's going through our minds while we're playing because she played here back when she was in high school," said Van Ert, a senior.
Edina's first match of the 2020 season will be when they host Buffalo on Wednesday, September 2nd.
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