With recent changes to the program, including the appointment of a new head coach, the women’s tennis team remains confident they can continue to be successful and improve. Following the appointment of 2005 season head coach Dave Borelli to the men’s tennis team, Jefferson Hammond was promoted from assistant coach to head coach for the 2006 women’s tennis season.
“We knew Jefferson from the past two years, so it’s not such a huge change,” said Kewa Nichols, a junior women’s tennis player. “I think we’re all very excited about him coaching us. We have a lot to learn from him.”
Nichols said the team can go as far, if not further, than it did last year.
“We made it to the round of 16 last year, so I definitely think we have the ability and an opportunity,” Nichols said.
Hammond, who is billed as the interim head coach on gofrogs.com, said the team’s goal is not just to make it back to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament, but to be ranked in the top 10. At the end of last year, the team was ranked No. 15 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll, a four-spot improvement from the previous season and its highest ranking since 1980, according to gofrogs.com.
Hammond said newcomer tennis player, Macall Harkins, will help them reach their goals.
“She’s a transfer from Illinois who was not given a release to play right away, so she may have to sit the entire year, but we think it was a great move for our future,” Hammond said.
Borelli said his close relationship with Hammond and the rest of the team will allow him to stay connected with the program he has spent four seasons building.
“If another coach came in, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to be involved,” Borelli said. “With Jefferson, we’re so close, I certainly will call him to help me with observations about my men’s team as well as him calling me to help with the women’s.”
Borelli said even though they have contrasting personalities, Hammond shares his philosophy on how to run a successful tennis program.
“I’m a little more out there,” Borelli said. “The bottom line is we’re both plotters, and we both understand about planting seeds and doing it slowly.”
Hammond said he is probably the opposite of Borelli in terms of personality and hopes he can be as fun as his predecessor, while maintaining the success he brought to the program.
“I’m probably not as animated as Dave,” Hammond said. “He just made everything fun and has been a fantastic mentor.