2010 Foothill Knights Tennis

My high school coaching career began in the fall of 1991. From the fall of 1991 to the fall of 1995, I coached both girls and boys varsity tennis at Foothill High School in North Tustin. In 2004 I was asked to return to Foothill and coach the boys. The Foothill boys tennis program is now year-round. We are very fortunate to have a strong coaching staff and an excellent off-season tennis program. Orange County has some of the strongest high school tennis teams in the country. Since returning in 2004, we have made great strides in building the tennis program back to one of the best in the county.

My coaching philosophy is simple. At Foothill, we stress the importance of academics and make sure that the players are concentrating on their school work. The 2010 varsity team had a combined GPA of nearly 4.0 - not only are the players motivated on the court, but they are also motivated at school. They understand the importance of working as a team to obtain their goals, both on and off the court.

It is very important that all the players support each other, either during practice or a match. Since it is not unusual for us to carry more than nine players, the guys who are not playing are supporting the guys who are playing. No homework, no iPods, no phones - all the players must be involved in the match, either as a player or as support.

The “TEAM” concept is very important at Foothill. Tennis is such an individual sport that we work very hard at creating that “team” atmosphere, with everyone supporting each other. It is important, however, that each player take control of their own actions and not rely upon teammates or parents to communicate with the staff. Texting and email are not acceptable forms of communication. They all have the coaches’ phone numbers if something comes up and they cannot make a meeting or practice.

Four major tenets are taught to the players in the Foothill Tennis Program:

Passion: Passion for the game of tennis and to get the most out of life.

Strength: Strength of conviction, sometimes in the face of adversity. Stay strong.

Honor: Be honorable on the court, in life, at home, and in school. ALWAYS do the right thing, even when peer pressure tries to persuade you to go in another direction.

Respect: Maybe the most important of the four. You must first respect yourself, for what you have accomplished and who you are. You must respect your family, your teachers, your classmates, your friends, the coaches, your teammates, and your opponents. And respect must be earned, earned by how you treat others, how you help those who are in need, and how who run your life. It’s not just about winning and losing. It’s about how hard you try even when you lose, and how you treat an opponent when you are winning easily. Respect is earned by not thinking just of ourselves, but by thinking of others.

My mentors are few but have greatly influenced my life and my coaching style and philosophy.

My mom, who made me unbelievably competitive (I have toned it down a lot…just ask my wife).

Liz Cason, who was one of the most amazing, wise, and beautiful women I have ever met. As the first African-American manager at May Company department stores, she faced her share of adversity. But she taught me how to take the negative and turn it into a positive, and how, by giving and helping others, you get back twice as much as you give.

Vic Braden, who is one of the most passionate and dedicated (oh, and hard-working) people in the tennis world. He has done more to help grow the sport of tennis from a grass-roots level than any individual I know.

And finally, my kids, Andrea and Rob. I have learned so much from them and thankfully, they have forgiven me (mostly) for those inevitable parenting mistakes along the way.