When people think of great Charlotte Latin coaches over the years, they may point to football coach Larry McNulty (232 wins, 11 state championships), soccer coach Lee Horton (913 wins, 15 state championships), former basketball coach Jerry Faulkner (704 wins, nine state championships) or former volleyball coach Suzie Pignetti (745 wins, 15 state championships).Latin boys’ and girls’ tennis coach C.W. Stacks has flown under the radar for most of the last two and a half decades at the same school.Stacks, 65, has guided his Charlotte Latin teams to 704 wins while also teaching, chairing the upper school science department, acting as senior class faculty adviser and leading Latin’s Upper School Service Program.“Coach is the most unassuming guy you will ever meet,” said Charlotte Latin sports information director Ellen Kazura, who has known him for more than a decade. “He does everything behind the scenes, and he helps make everything (here) go. … He is one of those people that makes you feel better just being around him.”Stacks believes that he has been the lucky one. “My life is very rich because of the people I have dealt with and gotten to know, and whole Charlotte Latin family is a big part of that,” said Stacks, who is in his 25th year as a Latin teacher and coach and 41st year overall in the profession. “…Teaching and coaching has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without it.”Stacks was all-state tennis player at North Mecklenburg High and played at Rhodes College (Tenn.). He has spent 22 seasons as the boys’ tennis coach, winning state championship in 1993, and five in charge of the girls’ program, winning state championship in 1990.He also coached the Latin boys’ and girls’ cross country teams for nine years and the junior varsity boys’ basketball team for six years.Stacks worked at Memphis University School (Tenn.), St. Christophers (Va.), Hotchkiss School (Conn.), Cranbrook School (Mich.) and Landon School (Md.) before coming back home to Latin. He will have coached 100 high school varsity teams when he begins boys’ tennis this spring, amassing 889 wins.While the numbers are impressive, Stacks’ focus has always been on his student-athletes. He believes that academic and athletic success goes hand-in-hand.“For any teacher, the main focus is academic and that is what is most important,” Stacks said. “But I think the recognition of how important sports are in character values and how they lay the groundwork for future success is huge. Anyone who has done well athletically knows what it means to work hard and deal with setbacks and keep working to be successful. I think those are some of the most important lessons in anyone’s life.”Stacks currently teaches Honors Physics and Advanced Conceptual Physics, serves as senior class adviser and works with many Upper School students on service projects, which account for thousands of hours of community service.He added another dimension to his work when a former student, Reid Learner, encouraged him to get involved in community service with the students.Stacks has won several awards for his work, including the Habitat for Humanity Golden Hammer Award for Service. Stacks has guided the Hawks’ girls’ tennis team to an 8-6 record (through Sept. 25), despite having no seniors in his top six in singles.His Latin team is young, but they have wins over Cuthbertson, Marvin Ridge, Nation Ford and Weddington.The biggest win for both Stacks and his team was Sept. 3 over Weddington 6-3, when Stacks collected his 700th victory as a Latin head coach.Stacks is quick to give credit to his team, including juniors Katherine Tomlin, Eleanor Pickney and Olivia Baron, sophomores Margaret Robelen and Emma Matthews, and freshman Margaret Redic, who make up his current top six. But even his most accomplished peers admire his work.“Coach Stacks has done a great job with teams, even when they might have been younger or a little less talented,” soccer coach Lee Horton said. “He finds a way to motivate his kids to be the best they can be.”While Stacks is the last to take credit for all that he has accomplished at Latin, he admitted that this year has been a little more special.“This has been a big year for me,” Stacks said. “Maybe it’s time for retire soon, but we will just have to see. It’s hard for me to imagine retiring and what that will be like. I know it will happen at some point, but I love what I do.”
Tuesday, Oct. 01, 2013
Tennis coach C.W. Stacks among Charlotte Latin’s coaching greats
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer for South Charlotte News. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email email@example.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less