In Fond Memory - Les White

Hornets Owe Much of Their Success in Tennis to Les White

By Robert Jordan
Alameda Journal
November 5, 2004

Last week was an emotional one for the Alameda High School girls tennis program.

At one end, the Hornets celebrated their first undefeated season in the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League under coach Glen Oetman with a 7-0 victory over Berkeley on Thursday.

A day earlier, Alameda held a memorial for Les White, a longtime staple of the Hornets program who died on Oct. 19 at the age of 66.

"There's no doubt that for 20 years he had an impact on the program," said Oetman, who coached with White for the last five years. "He would take kids that had no experience and make them into tennis players that wanted to get better."

White was known for spending hours during the summer on the courts -- especially the single court just north of the main complex -- tutoring anyone who wanted to learn or improve their game.

"His life was tennis," said Oetman. "It wasn't just Alameda which was the beneficiary. He would arrange lessons with kids in the community that may or may not come here."

For that reason, Alameda High School and other members in the community have started a petition to rename the single court after White.

"We just felt like it was something necessary to continue his legacy," Alameda athletic director Kevin Hennessee said.

His legacy includes Andre Agassi, former Hornet Megan Falcon and current Hornet Jennifer Lau.

"I guess the thing that stands out the most is that he would always have tidbits of information," Oetman said. "He had a lot of insight into the games, and you knew you should be listening."

People in the community can sign the petition by stopping by the Alameda High School office.