Wilmington High girls tennis coach Jim Arrow is pictured in this file photo.

Another Wilmington High coaching icon has retired.

Jim Arrow, the girls’ tennis coach since 1996, oversaw his last match last weekend.

Though the Lady Greyhounds fell to Hickory, 4-1, Arrow will always be remembered as a winner. Under his guidance, Wilmington claimed two District 10, Class 2A team titles (2001, ’03) and was an annual contender in many more years. The squad last reached the D-10 title match in 2019.

“I have had a long career and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and it’s been fun,” Arrow said. “I’ve had a lot of great kids. I hope I was a positive influence to a lot people. That was one of my main objectives.”

At one point during their championship run, the Lady ’Hounds put together 6 unbeaten regular seasons.

“The girls are very nice. I have been really blessed with nice girls and the parents have been terrific. That’s the only reason I’ve kept going,” Arrow said. “I just loved coaching them. If I didn’t love coaching them, I wouldn’t have done it for so long.”

Previously, Arrow, who spent 13 years as Wilmington’s head baseball coach and 20 more as a junior high boys’ basketball coach, retired after a 36-year elementary physical education teaching career at Wilmington. The 1959 Wilmington graduate began his coaching career at the school in 1963.

“I enjoyed teaching the little kids, too,” he said. “I enjoyed my career. It was a lot of fun. I am blessed to have had a career like I had.”

Arrow, 80, wants to turn his focus to his family. He and his wife, Mitzi, who have been married 58 years, have sons Scott and David and four grandchildren.

“That’s what it’s all about. When you get to my age, you better take advantage of those things; you don’t know how long you have to enjoy them,” he said. “I turned 80 in June and I’ve always said I wanted to coach until I was 80. I am still able to stand and walk. I never sit. People always say they never see me sitting. That’s because I have to keep moving.”

That’s why people may still see Arrow around Wilmington’s girls tennis program.

“Stepping away is bittersweet. I thought about volunteer coaching, but my wife gave me a 20-minute lecture this morning about how I can’t stay away and I am too dedicated and, if I do volunteer, I’ll probably be there all the time,” he said with a laugh.

“I will still be around, though. I just won’t be obligated. If I want to go golfing, I will go golfing. If I want to go see my grandchildren, then I’ll do that. We’ll see how that works.”

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