David Hamel has been a teacher and coach for nearly four decades. But this will be his last and he is hoping his Diamond Bar tennis team can send him out on a winning note.
The No. 6 Brahmas start the playoffs today with a match against Hart, the third-place team out of the Foothill League. They swept through Palomares League play with a 10-0 record and are 14-2 overall
Hamel will retire on May 29 after teaching for 39 years, the last 16 at Diamond Bar. He previously spent 17 years at Anaheim Canyon.
He also teaches art and admits the decision was not easy.
“There never really is a good time,” he said. “But I am retiring from teaching so it was also a good time to retire from coaching. I don’t want to have a schedule. If I am fishing in Montana I don’t want to have to worry about being back by a certain day for tryouts or a meeting.”
Hamel, 61, says he has enjoyed every team he has coached but some are particularly memorable. The 2008 team won a CIF Division II title and was invited to state regional play for the first time.
The Brahmas graduate seven players from a team that made the semifinals a year ago before losing to Palm Desert. Sophomore Neil Tengbumroong leads the younger, more inexperienced squad.
“You never like to say you’re rebuilding it. We look at it more as reloading,” he said. “We had some players really step up this year and we’re hoping to make another run.”
Hamel still enjoys tennis and track and will continue to participate in those sports. He and wife Chris, who reside in Yorba Linda, also plan to travel.