Tennis

With new lungs, local tennis coach returns to the court

Posted July 15, 2013

— There is an undeniable repetition involved when it comes to tennis practice. For more than three decades, Allen Hornthal has lived the familiar routine as the head tennis coach at Holmes High School in Edenton.

“People say, ‘why do it? What do you get out of it?” Hornthal said. “Because it’s such a part of my life.”

The fact that it is still part of his life is the remarkable part. Last year, Hornthal needed an oxygen tank and a scooter just to get around.

Local tennis icon won't let health keep him from the court Mitchell: Local tennis icon won't let health keep him from the court

“I had been on oxygen 24-7,” Hornthal described. “Last year I coached with the oxygen.”

In February, at Duke Hospital, Hornthal received a long-awaited lung transplant – five years after his diagnosis for pulmonary fibrosis.

“I went eight years to Chapel Hill,” Hornthal joked “It would have been impossible to convert me to being a Duke fan, but they have done a pretty good job of it.”

After several months of rehabilitation in Durham, Hornthal was greeted with an unexpected homecoming.

“It was kind of emotional because he was gone for so long and we were so excited to see him,” said tennis player Ellie Wichard.

“They knew we were coming, and the road to our house, they had signs and everything,” Hornthal recounted about seeing his players welcoming him home. “It was mind-boggling.”

As soon as he was able, Hornthal returned to the court – this time with no oxygen. He came equipped with two good lungs and a racquet.

“I think it’s really inspiring for our team because we see Dr. Hornthal and he wants us to play our hardest, he wants us to put it all out on the court,” said player Molly High.

“It’s a good carrot to have because I get so much out of it,” Hornthal said.

1 Comment

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • vrigg45071 Jul 15, 7:02 p.m.

    I know Dr. Hornthal. He is a wonderful man!

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Rochester

    Tonight at 7:00 on METV 50.2

  • PGA Golf: RBC Canadian Open

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA Golf: RBC Canadian Open

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls vs. Rochester

    Tonight at 7:00 on 620am

  • CFB: Triangle Pigskin Preview

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: LA Dodgers at San Francisco

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NASCAR: Brickyard 400

    Sunday at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
ROC
 
1:10pm Today
MIN
CLE
2:10pm Today
MIL
CIN
2:10pm Today
CWS
KAN
3:10pm Today
COL
WAS
3:40pm Today
ARI
DET
3:40pm Today
SEA
NYM
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
LOS
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
SFG
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
TEX
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
7:15pm Tonight
STL
TAM
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
SDP
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
BAL
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
HOU
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
ROC