The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Tennis teams deal with coaching changes

Over the past four years, coaches for the men’s and women’s tennis teams have gone through a revolving door. The seniors on the men’s team have had four coaches, and the women’s team has had three.After the last women’s coach, Jen Anderson, quit in 2008, Eddie Luck, the men’s coach at the time, took over both teams.

But Guilford did not offer Luck a full-time job even though he was coaching both the women’s and the men’s teams with no assistance.

“Coaching 20 people is a full-time job, which includes spending four to five hours a day running practice, traveling with both teams, and coordinating all the logistics,” said junior Elizabeth Killion, a women’s tennis team co-captain.

Both teams agree that Luck did a good job at working with the two teams. They drove to matches together but had practice separately.

“He was really good at keeping us separate, but mixing us together for playing time,” said first-year Ben Nelson, a men’s team member. “Now it’s like we’re in two separate worlds.”

Since Luck had to attend his full-time job at a nearby tennis club, he couldn’t make all the teams’ practices and matches in the 2010 season. In the end, Guilford’s athletic program searched for a new coach.

“Eddie was a great person, and a great coach,” said Nina Bollag, junior co-captain of the women’s team. “Up until now, he was the best coach I had ever had.”

The athletic department hired a women’s coach, Ale Guerra, before their March 6 match at Virginia Wesleyan. Guerra, a 23-year-old, played at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro for four years and has also played internationally.

“We really like (Guerra) because her schedule is flexible, she knows what she is talking about, and she pushes us hard in practice,” said Killion.

Art Tourez stepped up in March to become the men’s part-time head coach. Tourez is a lifelong tennis player who has no prior coaching experience.

“Art is really helpful,” said senior Alec Chase. “He is helping us finish out the season and make the season as good as possible.”

In addition to being coached by Tourez, the men’s team has started coaching each other. Recently, the team decided to run a mile before every practice to increase the intensity of practice.

Both teams continue to remain positive in their current states, but both teams feel that had it been a different or more well-known sport, the situation would have been handled differently.

“I wish the administration would treat us like a varsity team, not a club,” said Killion in an e-mail interview.

Many team members believe that there are two options: either hire a full-time coach with an assistant to work both teams or two part-time coaches, one for each team.

“It is ridiculous that a college sports team did not have a coach for two weeks,” said Bollag. “The administration handled the situation alright, but they could have done more. They should have listened to the teams better.”

Despite all the coaching problems, both teams stepped it up and continued to work hard. The seasons have had some tough patches, but they are moving forward.

“We had a couple of tough losses,” said Chase. “The talent is there and the team is getting experience. We have some home matches coming up, which should end the season well.”

The men’s team has six first-years, and according to Nelson, the first-years and the upperclassmen blend together well to form a great team.

The women’s team is just as positive.

“We do not have the best structure but we are a solid team,” Bollag said. “We have four freshmen and eight members total. We are only losing one senior next season, so we are excited for the upcoming year.”

Killion is positive that the season will end well and looks forward to having a solid coaching staff for upcoming years.

“We are pretty competitive in the conference this year, and I expect us to be at the top of the conference next year as we improve,” said Killion.

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