Lewiston High School tennis coach Anita Murphy gives senior Abby Svor a fist bump during the state singles tournament on May 22, 2021, in Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Longtime Lewiston girls tennis coach Anita Murphy made headlines at the start of 2022: She announced her coaching days were over.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Murphy sent her resignation to Lewiston High School Athletic Director Jason Fuller, saying she was stepping down after 43 years at the helm of the Blue Devils’ girls tennis program.

Murphy said it was simply time to stop coaching.

“I have been thinking about it, let’s put it that way,” Murphy said after announcing her decision to resign. “I have been thinking, I am not getting any younger. Although I am in good health and feel great, I think it’s time for me to step back.”

The news came as a surprise to Fuller after Murphy was helping out with youth tennis players in the fall of 2021.

Anita Murphy, left, offers a tennis ball to her great-granddaughter, Adelyn Chicoine, on May 24 at the Lewiston High School tennis courts prior to a ceremony where the courts were officially dedicated to the longtime tennis coach. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“I was aware it was in the back of her mind, but she participated this fall for our middle school kids and younger kids to get back to playing tennis,” Fuller said after the announcement in early January. “She was ready to do another year. It’s going to be surprising not having her around, I can tell you that.”


Murphy’s family has been waiting for this decision since the beginning of the century.

“My whole family has been expecting it for the last 15 years,” granddaughter and former player Molly Chicoine said after the announcement. “When I was born almost 20 years ago, they thought she was going to retire. … We never know with Memere. She lasted another 18 (years) after I was born. I think she made the right decision. We weren’t shocked, I will put it to you that way.”

Murphy racked up a lot of wins in her 43 years of coaching — 513 to be exact. The state championships also piled up as Murphy coached 13 title-winning teams, the most recent in 2019, with Chicoine on the team.

Lewiston girls tennis coach Anita Murphy holds the 2019 Class A championship trophy with her granddaughter Molly Chicoine. Submitted photo

Murphy’s most dominant stretch started in 2006, when the Blue Devils won six straight titles from 2006-11.

“It’s something you don’t think about until someone brings it up and says something to you: ‘You have won six years in a row,’” Murphy said in January.

Murphy coached many outstanding singles players, including Sadie Roy, who reached the state singles semifinal round in 1999, and Chantalle Lavertu reached the semifinal round four straight years from 2006-09.


Murphy’s legendary career includes inductions into three sports halls of fame in the state. She’s a member of the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame, the MPA Hall of Excellence, and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.

In June, Murphy was one of ten Mainers the Maine Principals’ Association invited to the “Equal Play: Celebrating 50 Years of Title IX” event at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The keynote speaker of the event was another tennis legend, Billy Jean King.

While Murphy’s longtime assistant coach Lorraine Bowen is now the head coach, Murphy’s legacy will remain at Lewiston High School with the courts at the school officially renamed the Coach Anita Murphy Tennis Courts.

Anita Murphy, blue jacket in the middle of front row, is surrounded by her husband, children, grandchildren and extended family on May 24 at the Lewiston High School tennis courts. The courts were named in honor of the longtime coach and mentor who won 13 state titles, National Coach of the Year and ran a summer program for several dozen years. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“It was one of those things I needed to find the right time to do it,” Fuller said in January. “I wanted to do it when her career was (toward) the end. We talked enough that it was coming at some point. I wanted to make sure we honor someone that (spent) 43 years as a coach. It’s staggering; she deserved it.”

Editor’s note: The top 10 area sports stories of 2022 were voted on by the Sun Journal sports staff.

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