The 2017-18 season will be John Hirte's sixth as head coach of the men's and women's tennis teams at Covenant College.
In May of 2017, Hirte was promoted to Assistant Director of Athletics in addition to his coaching duties. In his Assistant AD role, Hirte oversees compliance and indoor athletic facilities along with other duties.
During his first five years as head coach, Hirte has collected three USA South Coach of the Year awards (one women's and two men's) and led his programs to new heights. Hirte was named USA South Men's Tennis Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2017 and was selected as the Women's Tennis Coach of the Year in 2016.
The 2016-17 season was a banner year for both programs as the men and women collected regular season USA South West Division titles. The women finished 7-0 in league play to win the division outright and were the runner-up in the USA South Tournament. The men finished 7-1 in league play to share the title, but earned the No. 1 seed from the division in the USA South Tournament. The men's team set a program record with 12 victories during the year. Hirte was named USA South Coach of the Year on the men's side, while two players on the men's team earned All-USA South with three women's players collecting honors. The men's team also won the USA South Team Sportsmanship Award for a second time in program history.
In 2015-16, Hirte's women's team went 15-6, including an 11-1 mark in the USA South, and was regionally ranked for the first time. The 15 wins were the second-most in program history and the .714 winning percentage was a program record. In the same year on the men's side, Hirte's No. 1 player Matthew Harvie earned a region ranking for the first time and was selected as the USA South Player of the Year.
Hirte was a successful player while he was a student at Covenant. He won numerous accolades including GSAC Player of the Year in 2012 for going undefeated in singles play during his senior season, NCCAA First Team All-American status (2012), and NCCAA Scholar Athlete honors. He was also instrumental in Covenant's only trip to the NCCAA National Tournament in 2010.
In his collegiate career, Hirte won 40 singles matches which ranks second all-time in Covenant program history behind Josh Jeremiah (50).
In his second year of guiding the Covenant programs, he led the women's team to a school record 16 victories and an appearance in the USA South tournament semifinals. Hirte's women's team had two USA South All-Conference performers. On the men's side, Hirte's team snapped a long losing streak as they continued to show vast improvement.
In 2015, Hirte's teams experienced more success. The men's team qualified for the USA South tournament for the first time and Hirte was named the conference's Coach of the Year after guiding the turnaround. The women went 12-7 overall and 9-3 in USA South matches and again earned a spot in the USA South tournament.
During his first five years, Hirte's women's team has had 11 all-conference performers and 22 members earn USA South All-Academic honors. On the men's side, Hirte's squad has totaled six USA South All-Conference players, including one Player of the Year, and 17 USA South All-Academic members.
"I am extremely excited about the opportunity to begin my coaching career at Covenant, a place where I have had a wonderful four years as a student, and as an athlete," Hirte said at the time of his hiring. "I hope to bring growth and stability to the tennis program as we aim to achieve more success in the years to come."
Before arriving at Covenant as a student-athlete, Hirte was an accomplished high school player in his hometown of Maple Grove, Minn. Hirte lettered six times in tennis and four times in basketball, was a conference champion his junior season and a Minnesota state quarterfinalist his senior year. After concluding his Covenant career and graduating with a major in history and a minor in coaching, Hirte was hired as head coach for the upcoming season.
Hirte and his wife, Claire, were married in August of 2013 and the couple lives on Lookout Mountain, Ga.