By Carey Phillips
Ashley Doolin has resigned after seven seasons as Smoky Mountain’s women’s tennis coach.
She recently graduated from the Physical Therapy doctorate program at Western Carolina University and has accepted a position in Franklin. She also plans to get married in September.
“My resignation comes with great sadness as the past seven years have been rewarding in more ways than one,” Doolin said.
Doolin became the first Smoky Mountain tennis player to compete in the regionals in 2012. She graduated in 2014 and two years later became head coach while completing her undergraduate degree at WCU.
“Throughout my tenure as the head women’s coach I was able to develop lasting relationships between student-athletes and their parents, be a part of seven very special group of girls’ lives, and watch them grow through their crazy high school years on and off of the tennis courts,” Doolin said. “Our student-athletes consistently work hard and make resigning as a coach a feat in itself. Over the course of the last seven seasons we have been humbled as coaches as we have had several commendable season finishers.”
The highlight was the 2018 state doubles championship for Veronica Judson and Maddy Polyasko. That pair finished in the top eight in 2017, and Polyasko teamed with Ella Harris for a top four finish in 2019. Harris and Natalie Partain placed in the top 16 in the spring of 2021.
“Having spent this time coaching alongside of my father, my assistant coach, gave me great pleasure, and I will always cherish our time spent together during this journey,” she said.
“My hope for the future of the program is a continued interest in the sport of tennis as it is a sport that teaches athletes so much; not to mention it is a sport you can take with you throughout a lifetime,” Doolin said. “I know the upcoming student-athletes will be under great guidance and leadership, and I look forward to hearing about all of their success. Lastly, I would like to thank all school personnel, especially Athletic Director Adam Phillips, for being so supportive, always available, and a true blessing to work with. This is not goodbye as I look forward to being around and will forever be a Mustang myself!”
“Ashley has done an amazing job for a long time with our women’s tennis program,” Phillips said. “She was a player here and is one of the few coaches who has won a state championship at Smoky Mountain. I know we’ll continue to have her support. I can’t say enough good things about her.”
“Ashley is getting married and finishing up her degree and so has elected to step away from coaching,” Principal Evelyn Graning said. “She will be missed at Smoky Mountain High School, and we are grateful for all that she has done to support our girls and the overall program.”
The job opening is posted on the school system website.
“We’ll see what kind of interest we get and will go from there,” Phillips said of filling the vacancy.
The new coach will be trying to turn around a program that has gone 1-11 and 1-10-1 the past two seasons. That came after Doolin’s teams went 30-29 in her first five years.