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

For any accolades she receives, Anita Murphy defers to the players she coached in her 43 years leading the Lewiston High School girls tennis program.

“One year, I had 24, and times that by 43 years, that’s a lot of girls that I have had any opportunity to coach,” Murphy said. “I wouldn’t be getting any of these awards, let’s face it, without them.”

Murphy will be one of three members of the 2020 Maine Tennis Hall of Fame who will be inducted along with the five-member 2019 class on Saturday at The Woodlands Club in Falmouth. The combined ceremony is a catch-up event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Murphy said it’s an honor to be in the 2020 class with Brian Patterson, a state champion at Falmouth and played at Notre Dame, and Eric Blakeman, who went 127-0 at North Yarmouth Academy and played at Northwestern.

“It’s very nice being from your own state,” Murphy said. “There are a lot of outstanding tennis players or coaches or people who have been around tennis for years. For me to be included with this group … it’s very humbling. You look and see: How can I be going with these guys? I am very honored.”

Murphy, who retired from coaching after the 2021 season, is also a member of the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame (2013), the MPA Hall of Excellence (2015), and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame (2018).


“I am very proud of her, obviously,” said her daughter, Wendy Poutre, who is the girls tennis coach at Portsmouth High School in New Hampshire. “She shies away from some of the accolades at times because she can’t conceive of getting credit for doing something that she truly loves and having a great time doing it all those years.”

Murphy coached the Lewiston High School girls tennis program from 1979-2021, winning 518 matches, 13 state championships and 18 regional championships. She has won numerous coach of the year awards, including the National Federation High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2011.

Under Murphy’s direction, Sadie Roy reach the state singles semifinals in 1999 and Chantalle Lavertu made it to the semifinal round four years in a row, from 2006-09.


Murphy got involved in tennis in the mid-1970s after her son, Ron Chicoine, picked up the game and started playing anyone he ran into at local tennis courts.

Murphy played for a few years, then decided to get into coaching when the position at Lewiston opened up in 1979.


“I contacted Don Girard he was the athletic director at the time, and he had me go in (for an interview),” Murphy said. “I will always remember one of the questions was, ‘Well, do you know how to play tennis?’ I said, ‘I know how to play it better than I do play it’. We kind of laughed and I got the job. It was fun, I am glad I did and I enjoyed it.”

Lewiston High School coach Anita Murphy talks with Roslynn Wailus, right, and Abby Svor between sets during the Class A North semifinals in June 2018. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

Poutre played for her mother’s early Lewiston teams.

“I just remember very good times with my high school tennis team,” Poutre, a 1982 Lewiston graduate, said. “I had very fun times with the other players and my mom. She had a way of making tennis a fun activity. The good thing is, you have to earn your way onto a tennis team, so there could be no favoritism. It is what it is, she always played ladder matches, and that’s how you earn your way.”


Murphy’s favorite memory happened in 2007 when both Lewiston teams won the state championship. Ron Chicoine, her son was the boys team’s coach. Meanwhile, her grandson and Ron’s son, Calvin, earned the clinching point for North Yarmouth Academy’s Class C state championship victory.

Murphy said another thing she enjoyed about coaching is the friends she made.


“I made a lot of friendships coaching,” Murphy said. “I am good friends with (former Edward Little coach Kim Clark). I have made great friendships with the parents; I am still friends with a lot of the girls’ parents.”


Murphy said she has no regrets about stepping down in early 2022 but misses being around the players every day during the season.

She still attends the matches.

“I realized what it’s like to be a spectator — it’s totally different,” Murphy said. “It was hard; there were times I wanted to go up and say something to the girls. You can’t help that when you have done this for so many years. You want to go up and maybe say, ‘You should do this,’ or whatever. I get nervous for them; you want them to do well.”

Poutre said the timing was right for her mother to step away from coaching.


“It was a double-edged sword,” Poutre said. “In some ways, she was ready to give it up, and in other ways, she was very reluctant to give it up. It’s OK. She’s 80 years old, I know it doesn’t seem like she is. … She has grandkids and great-grandkids, but she is busy in her own way. It is strange not having her coach because she has been doing it for so long.”

Poutre said she always sends the results of her team’s matches to her mother and her father, Rene Chicoine, who coached the Lewiston boys team for 25 years before stepping down down after the 2002 season. (One of Rene Chicoine’s players at Lewiston, Bates College coach Paul Gastonguay, also is being inducted into the Maine Tennis Hall of Fame on Saturday as a member of the 2019 class).


Another reason for Murphy’s success with the Blue Devils was running the Lewiston Rec Department’s summer tennis program for 29 years.

“They are intertwined; you can’t take her success from the high school and separate them from the rec department that she ran, because she had upwards of 200 kids (per year) in there,” Poutre said. “She was the pied piper of tennis. She would spot a kid who wasn’t signed up for tennis and would say, ‘Why aren’t you signed up for tennis? Come play tennis,’ and most of them did. That exposure to tennis for all these different types of athletes then led to the success for both the boys and girls tennis teams at Lewiston High.”

In honor of Murphy’s success and legacy, the tennis courts at Lewiston High School were renamed the Anita Murphy Tennis Courts in 2021 and then dedicated as such in 2022.

“What I said to her the other day: ‘Mom, you have to remember, they can’t overstate your impact on tennis in the Lewiston area. It is what it is, you have impacted Lewiston-Auburn’s tennis community in ways that are immeasurable,'” Poutre said.

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