New Hun boys’ head coach faces tough standards

Kingston follows legendary father’s footsteps into tennis

By: Justin Feil
   As new head boys’ tennis coach, Chris Kingston brings a very familiar name to The Hun School. Kingston was a singles player as a post-graduate when the Raiders won their last state prep title in 1994. After serving as an assistant last season to 17-year coach Dana Radanovic, he takes over in his first ever head coaching position.
   "I learned a lot from Dana," said Kingston, who also is an assistant coach for the boys’ soccer and basketball teams. "I think it helped helping her last year."
   It also helped that Kingston grew up the son of one of the most recognized names in all of New Jersey tennis. Bill Kingston is the head coach of Moorestown High and has been since before Chris was even born. He enters this spring with an overall boys’ record of 681 wins and 120 losses and a girls’ record of 470-50.
   Kingston admits those are staggering numbers, numbers that he can’t even imagine approaching (20 wins per season for 34 seasons would still leave him one win shy of the boys’ record). But following such a successful example into the coaching profession doesn’t add undo pressure.
   "All that does is help me," he said. "Almost everything I knew I learned from him. If I could be half the coach he is….
   "His record speaks for itself. But the thing I want to take most is his character. You never hear anyone say anything bad about him, from players to other coaches. He’s so well respected. I’d love to be like that."
   It will make Hun’s second match of the season all the tougher. After opening Thursday at home against Princeton High, Kingston’s Raider team will host his father’s Moorestown team 3:30 p.m. Friday, the first time they’ve been on opposite sides in eight years.
   "We played Moorestown when I was here," Chris recalled. "What made it even harder was I was playing my brother and my dad was coaching him. But he really just couldn’t watch."
   That’s because Bill Kingston helped groom Chris into the solid player he was. Chris was in the Moorestown starting lineup for three year, moving up each season with his dad’s tutelage. Chris hopes that his father also passed along the foundation to become just as beloved a coach.
   "The on the court stuff I can’t think of anything really specific," Chris said. "He taught me pretty much everything I know. And a lot of it is just because I played a lot, so I learned it. But what I learned from my dad is all the character stuff. He’s so good at that. He’s always fair. He always does things right."
   The fact that Chris has become a coach following his 2000 graduation from Dickinson, where he played soccer, wouldn’t be such a surprise to his old Moorestown friends.
   "All my friends and teammates used to tell me that it was going to happen," Kingston said. "I always thought there was no way. But when I got to college, I started to figure out that coaching was something I wanted to do."
   Kingston will put to work all of life’s lessons on this season’s Raiders. He takes over a team that went 6-7 last season and lost just two players. Hun has a very evenly matched squad this season, which makes Kingston’s job tougher and keeps his mind off daunting marks like his dad’s comic-book career coaching record.
   "I’m just worried about today," he said. "My goal is to figure out our lineup and it’s tough with this team. Everyone beats everyone. We’d like to win the (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) and we’d like to win the states. Other than that, I’d just like them to get better every day."
   Kingston is familiar with what a difficult task it is to win the MAPL and prep state titles, and can point to his own experience.
   "When I played at Moorestown, we had some great teams. Moorestown plays Lawrenceville every year and I didn’t beat them until I came to Hun," Kingston said. "Last year, from playing teams, I got an idea. I’ve seen these other prep teams. Lawrenceville is the three- or four-time defending champion so they’re the team to beat. I hear they’re a little down this year, but they’re still going to be good."
   Chris Kingston will try to make the Hun tennis team a contender and a household name, just as he saw his father do with the Moorestown team, and even the Kingston name.