Since its beginnings in 1890, Choate Rosemary Hall has built a formidable reputation on a tradition of academic excellence. As we proceed into our second century, the focus on outstanding teaching and scholastic achievement is still at the heart of the school's mission. Fortunately, attainment in athletics also is an important part of our institutional heritage. At Choate, athletic excellence is judged not by a team's win-loss record, but by the skills, discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, and dedication to improvement demonstrated by our student-athletes. Happily, the pursuit of these ideals--these "habits of excellence"--often results in winning efforts, as well. Choate Rosemary Hall teams and athletes in a wide range of sports are highly successful in competition at state, regional, and even national and international levels.
A Brief History of Choate Tennis
Tennis at Choate has a long and distinguished history. There was at least one court in existence on campus in the school's earliest days. Organized competition began in 1909, when boys and teachers played intramural matches on a court next to the old gymnasium. The Choate School's athletic department recognized tennis as an official sport in the spring of 1916 with the establishment of an interscholastic match schedule. Tennis became immensely popular at the school in the ensuing decades. The varsity team emerged as a perennial powerhouse among its prep school and collegiate rivals, rarely losing a match. Among Choate's best players were national champions and #1-ranked junior competitors.
Choate Rosemary Hall teams in recent years have been unusually strong as well, completing several seasons undefeated and dominating competition in Founders League and New England prep school play. The Wild Boars have finished atop the New England prep school rankings repeatedly and claimed multiple championships in the New England Prep School Invitational Tennis Tournament. The school fields three interscholastic squads for boys in the spring and offers an extensive intramural program as well. The teams play the intercollegiate format, competing in six singles and three doubles matches with players permitted to play both singles and doubles.
Individually, Choate players have excelled at the interscholastic level (winning New England prep school singles and doubles championships, for instance) and have left the school well-equipped for further tennis success. Many Choate alumni have played intercollegiate tennis, some for Ivy League teams and even for traditional Division I tennis powers such as Stanford and Duke. In recent years, Choate team members have matriculated at Bates, Bowdoin, Boston University, Bucknell, Brown, Claremont, Cornell, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Harvard, Kenyon, McGill, Middlebury, Princeton, Tulane, Washington, Wesleyan, Williams, and Yale. A couple of former Wild Boars players have seen action on the pro circuit and as Davis Cup competitors.
Tennis Facilities at Choate
We are fortunate to have ideal tennis facilities for training and match play, with no fewer than twenty-three tennis courts on campus--including three used for indoor play in inclement weather. October 1995 saw the dedication of the Torrence Hunt Tennis Center, a facility that ranks among the finest tennis complexes to be found at private clubs, resorts, or colleges, let alone high schools. Fourteen of the school's courts surround the clubhouse and there is stadium-style spectator seating overlooking each court. All the courts were rebuilt from scratch in 2010. Click here to learn more about the tennis facilities.
Choate has been fortunate to have a number of tennis legends grace its courts in match play through the years, including a dozen or so Grand Slam champions, from the great Bill Tilden through recent stars on the professional circuit. Choate's location, facilities, and reputation as a tennis power have made it an ideal venue for a variety of tournaments, clinics, and camps. The school routinely hosts major prep school tournaments in the spring: both the boys' and girls' New England Team Championships as well as the New England Prep School Invitational for outstanding singles players and doubles teams.
In addition to using outstanding facilities, Choate Tennis tries to stay on the cutting edge of coaching technology and makes good use of ball machines, video playback, and computer analysis of match play.
The tennis season traditionally begins with optional spring break training trip, open to all interested in playing for Choate tennis teams; this week-long session represents an intensive effort to sharpen strokes and accrue match play experience before the formal beginning of the season. The team has traveled to South Carolina and Florida on the Eastern seaboard and to Indian Wells and Los Angeles in California.
Choate Tennis has traveled internationally in recent years as well. In 2006, the squad toured Beijing and Shanghai, and trained at the Shanghai Racquet Club. In 2008, the Coral Beach Club in Bermuda hosted the Wild Boars for their spring break training. Between 2009 and 2011 the squad prepped for the season in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
At the varsity level, we pursue as rigorous a match schedule as we can arrange during the course of the spring. Our regular season opponents include other schools in the Founders League--an athletic association of Connecticut independent schools--as well as those private and public schools throughout the Northeast with strong tennis programs. We get some of our strongest competition in early April at the Kingswood-Oxford Invitational Tennis Tournament in West Hartford, an event we have won repeatedly. Post-season play has included the New England Prep School Team Championships and the New England Prep School Invitational for standout singles players and doubles teams. The Choate players also enjoy a season-ending tradition: Hall of Fame Day, when the squad spends a day near the close of the school year in Newport, Rhode Island, visiting the International Tennis Hall of Fame and playing tennis on the grass courts where the first U.S. Championships were contested. Players on the team also vie for the Upshur Moorhead '30 Cup in the All-School Tennis Championships in late May.
Head coach Ned Gallagher has taught history and English at Choate for over twenty-five years and has coached athletes in a variety of sports at almost every level of competition--from local youth group teams to college squads. An alumnus of Williams College, Mr. Gallagher taught history and served as boys' varsity tennis coach at Phillips Academy (Andover, Massachusetts) prior to his 1987 appointment to the Choate Rosemary Hall faculty. He is a graduate of the TennisUniversity and Advanced TennisUniversity training programs for coaches, holds the highest level of professional certification credentials from both major organizations of tennis professionals--the USPTA and the PTR--and is an associate member of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. He was named "Coach Of The Year" by the New England Division of USPTA in January 2009. Mr. Gallagher has been an executive board member of the Connecticut section of the United States Tennis Association and served on the advisory board of the PTR's New England Division as well. He also serves on the professional advisory staff for HEAD/Penn Racquet Sports. An experienced tournament organizer, Ned is the Executive Director of the New England Interscholastic Tennis Association. His summer activities have included directing junior tennis camps in New York, New Hampshire, and Connecticut and serving on the tournament staff of the Pilot Pen International, an ATP event staged in nearby New Haven. Coach Gallagher has conducted instructional and pro-am events with the likes of Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Fred Stolle, and many more all-time greats and current touring professionals, and his work as a clinician has been recognized in The New York Times. He has been a delegate to international coaches conferences held in conjuntion with Wimbledon and the Australian Open and has attended all four Grand Slam events as well as countless other professional tournaments. Besides coaching tennis, Mr. Gallagher coaches boys' cross country and girls' squash and supervises Memorial House, a dormitory of ninth- and eleventh-grade boys. He also has served as Choate's Director of Athletics since June 1996 and currently holds the Hubert S. Packard Chair for Distinguished Teaching.
Andrew Murgio has been affiliated with the Choate Tennis program as junior varsity coach since 2005. An alumnus of Dartmouth College and former faculty member at Bridgton Academy and Avon Old Farms School, Coach Murgio is chair of the mathematics department. He also coaches boys' thirds soccer.
Thirds team coach and 2006 Choate graduate Emily Lovejoy has returned to her alma mater to teach science and coach tennis after her graduation from Haverford College.
Frequently Asked Questions About
How talented does a player have to be to expect to play on
Choate's varsity team?
What sort of opportunities are there for off-season
What about USTA tournament play?
What happens in a typical practice?
How might a player best prepare himself for a successful
prep school tennis career?
What distinguishes Choate's tennis program from those of
Choate Tennis Credo
Excellence in Choate Tennis is not related to wins and losses, but rather includes:
Choate players in the past shared this belief in what Excellence really is. That fact, more than all the championships, has made our program successful. If you believe in it, you will be successful, too, no matter if you ever win a match or not.
To contact Head Coach Ned Gallagher:
you can send e-mail to
or write to:
Photo credits: Sue Cossette, Gary Dormandy, Ned Gallagher, Ian Morris, Ryan Vasan '00, Rebecca Weiss '05.
Copyright © 1996-2012 Choate Tennis. All rights reserved.