Santa Fe (KRQE) – A New Mexico tennis coach is calling it quits. He says the school district has no faith in his program and the cracked and worn courts are proof.
The Santa Fe High School tennis courts are closed indefinitely because the district says they’re unsafe to use. The 36-year-old outdoor facility is in serious repair.
“They’re horrible. The cracks underneath that have been patched are like 3, 4 inches deep 2, 2.5 inches wide,” said former Santa Fe High School Tennis Coach Warren Fulgenzi.
Fulgenzi quit his coaching job Sunday because of the hazardous courts conditions.
“There is no commitment to it. It’s not like this just happened over night. These courts have been unplayable for 4, 5 years,” said Fulgenzi.
Fulgenzi says the school’s administration told him Santa Fe High School would have an entirely new tennis facility within the next two years. The district says they only planned on renovating the current courts.
“We had planned to do this over the course of the summer, but there was a lobbying effort for new courts which was not something we could fund ,” said Santa Fe Public Schools Deputy Superintendent for Business Operations Carl Gruenler.
A new facility would cost $1.5 million. Renovations would cost about $200,000.
Fulgenzi says he never got that memo.
“If they would have told me there is no way you’re going to get a new facility then of course I would want the patch job and we will take what we get,” said Fulgenzi
Now, Santa Fe High tennis players have nowhere to practice or play and the district says it could be at least another year before the courts are safe enough to practice on.
“The courts need to be renovated. The district is committed to renovate them, so we have to work through the process with our community,” said Gruenler.
Fulgenzi says it was never his intention to quit on his team. He just wanted to make a statement.
“I know that we are a minor sport, but we don’t get the respect I think we are due,” said Fulgenzi.
The district says it’s working on getting court space at the other high school in town, but they don’t have anything secured just yet.