Fort Mill’s Angela Struve, yellow shirt, poses with her team this past season, which was the last as head coach for the Jackets’ program.

Angela Struve describes herself in four words – teacher, coach, mother, wife. She is dropping one of those words for now.

Struve stepped down last week as Fort Mill girls’ tennis coach after an enormously successful 13 year run. Her reasoning behind stepping down was to focus on another one of those words – mother.

“It was hands down the hardest decision of my life,” she said. “This has been the greatest thing I have done.”

Struve has a 4-year-old entering kindergarten this fall and said that she needed to be there for her child more. A second generational coach, Struve played tennis at Fort Mill High from 1996 to 1999. Her mother, Teresa Watkins (at the time), coached there from 2000 to 2002 as girls’ tennis coach and helped pave the way for Struve to take over in 2008.

Since she took the reins, Struve has guided Fort Mill girls’ tennis to an impressive run of success. She guided the team to the playoffs 12 of her 13 years as head coach, won three region titles, was a two-time Region Coach of the Year, had two undefeated regular seasons and broke three school records along the way.

“Everything about it I will miss,” she said. “I will miss practice. It was always a great stress relief.”

An English teacher as well at Fort Mill High, Struve said her players were more than just students and athletes to her, but over time grew into strong women, friends and even family.

“They became part of my family,” she said. “It is hard to say goodbye to them. It feels like a little piece of me is gone.”

Mac Banks:, @fortprep