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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

USTA Announces Junior Davis Cup and Junior Fed Cup Teams; McNamara Named Head Women's Coach at Texas

The USTA announced the three-player teams that will represent the United States next week at the ITF's Junior Fed Cup and Junior Davis Cup competitions for 16-and-under players.

As I mentioned on Monday, the girls team consists of CiCi Bellis, Tornado Alicia Black and Sofia Kenin and will be coached by Kathy Rinaldi.  The boys team is Michael Mmoh, William Blumberg and Gianni Ross, and is coached by Eric Nunez.  John McNally was originally named to the team, but a recent injury kept him from making the trip.

The two teams are competing Friday against the University of New Mexico tennis teams at the new McKinnon Family Tennis Complex in Albuquerque, with three doubles matches, including one mixed doubles, followed by six singles matches.   For more on the match, see the New Mexico website.

Black, who qualified for the $75,000 Pro Circuit tournament in Albuquerque, won her first round match this evening, so her status for Friday's college match will depend on how she does in the pro tournament Thursday, when she takes on top seed Anna Tatishvili.

I am still awaiting official word from the ITA on the status of the format change. But there's still college news to report, including the filling of the women's head coaching position at Texas.  Danielle Lund McNamara, who coached last year at Yale, will take over for Patty Fendick-McCain, who retired in June.

Other hirings announced recently:

Former Ohio State All-American Ross Wilson has been named interim men's head coach at Iowa after the announcement this month that Steve Houghton, coach of the Hawkeyes for 33 years, would retire, effective immediately.  Wilson was the assistant to Houghton last season. Ty Shaub, another former Buckeye, has been named interim assistant to Wilson.

Another former Ohio State All-American, Bryan Koniecko, has been named men's head coach at Brown. Koniecko previously served as men's assistant at Brown in 2010-12 and was the women's assistant at Ohio State the following two seasons.

Replacing Koniecko in Columbus is Adam Cohen. He was previously men's head coach at Binghamton.

Cordell Ho has retired as women's assistant at Cal, with Zack Warren taking his place.  Warren is a former player and men's assistant at Brigham Young.

Courtney Nagle, previously an assistant at Iowa, replaces Sara Anundsen as women's assistant at North Carolina.

Kurt Clemmons is joining new Washington women's coach Robin Stephenson as her assistant.

2013 NCAA finalist Mary Weatherholt(Nebraska) has taken a women's volunteer assistant's position at TCU.

Former Michigan men's coach Bruce Berque has taken a men's volunteer assistant position at Texas.

The announcement of Paul Goldstein's hiring at Stanford came back in June, but here's a good interview with Goldstein as he begins his first season as Cardinal men's head coach.


AR Hacked Off said...

Former Purdue Player and TCU Assistant was hired at Ga State

horned frog said...

GET UP,J. MARSH!! Good Luck at Georgia State!

College Fan said...

Nicole Gibbs into the top 100. She's still alive in the quarters in Seoul. This week's result will give her a nice boost.

Cardinal said...

Nice Q&A w/ Goldstein. Love the quotes about Gould. I found this quote I pasted below interesting. I honestly have no idea, but was wondering if online schooling has had small or large role in Stanford's slide over the past few years. They can't get the type of recruits that have in the past due to Stanford's admission policies and/or the top players don't want to face the academic rigors that comes with going to Stanford? They were the kings of college tennis and now have trouble getting into the top 25.

"One of the things I was referring to is that a lot of junior tennis players use distance learning for their form of education which is okay. It’s just the landscape is that they are specializing in their chosen sport at an earlier age and emphasizing development in a sport sometimes perhaps at the expense of academics. As you know Stanford is looking for student athletes that are committed to pursuing excellence and athletics and being able to maintain that balance."

A long climb said...

I don't think online school has anything to do with it. Stanford couldn't get top athletes, online schooled or otherwise, because it became known as the school where your tennis went no where but down. So they get the players that don't care about tennis and just want to get in the school. Stanford is not the only school with academic rigor, although they like to believe they are. But for some reason their players can't seem to balance the academics and grow their tennis. Even with a new coach, the best players with good academics are looking elsewhere. The better players are opting for other schools not because they can't handle the academics, but because Stanford can't offer them a positive tennis experience, and that makes for a long 4 years on the court. It's a big hole to climb out of.

Scanlon said...


I doubt that Stanford’s admission policies have led to the fall of the men’s team in the rankings. The women’s team have had very good success, so one would assume that the policies are the same for both teams, unless Forood has been granted more leeway due to her success on the court.

The last sentence of your Goldstein quote indicates that the men’s team will continue to have trouble breaching the top 10. Good for Goldstein. Stanford is a top 5 academic school, and in my opinion, they’re probably right where they should be in the ITA rankings. A rank of 20+ is generally what happens when your student-athletes are students first and athletes second, especially at rigorous academic schools like Stanford.

You can look at the number of academic awards that the Stanford men have earned in recent years to gauge how much effort they’re putting into their studies. It’s impressive. They have earned the Team award (for a cumulative GPA of 3.2+) 11 times in the past 13 years. Their students have won the Scholar-Athlete award (GPA 3.5+) 64 times in that time period. That’s roughly 50% of the student-athletes that have come through their program. That’s outstanding, and the team should be commended for that, considering that Stanford has an academic reputation to uphold.

The Stanford women, well, let’s just say that a different picture has been painted in recent years. If you want to understand what it takes to be successful on the tennis court, just look at Forood’s record. They win the NCAAs, what, 50% of the time? Good for them, but that tennis success looks like it comes at the expense of academic performance. Academically, they have won the Team award just 2 times in the last 13 years. Their student-athletes have won the Scholar-Athlete award, get this, just 4 times in 13 years. That’s roughly a 3% success rate – that’s abysmal for such a great academic school. You’ll find that’s true for any top 10 team. Academic achievement is largely back-burnered at highly successful Div 1 sports teams in the more marquee sports.

So I guess if Paul Goldstein understands the importance of maintaining a balance between academic excellence and athletics, then I’d say he’s off to a good start in realizing the greater academic aims of Stanford University. He should probably send a reminder to Lele Forood. In fairness to Forood, though, clearly the Academic Progress Rate of her teams has been satisfactory, and she certainly makes up for her teams’ relative lack of academic achievement by winning tennis championships. The question is, though, for an academic and athletic powerhouse like Stanford, where does the balance lie?

Dirty secrets of online schooling besides their 4.0 GPA said...

As a college tennis recruiter, online schooling is amazing to get athletes into college. Everyone has a 4.0 average and it brings up the AI. ( Of course, all the tests are on their computer taken in the privacy of their bedroom).

The problem that I am hearing now from college coaches is that online students can't manage the schoolwork at college as there is no open book tests, and the teachers don't let them look up the answers to the tests. I actually had a client call me up and complain about that... So, the problem with the online students is they can't handle the college work.

However, Stanford does not takes a ton of online schooling, and therefore they don't run into that problem. But, Stanford, the IVY's, MIT, etc are way harder than your USC or Alabama, and the amount of school work, papers, tests and competition against brilliant kids at these hard academic schools takes away from practice time.

I always try to gauge a client and their parent's interest in going to college, is it to get a great education or turn pro? The answer helps determine where they should go to school and where they will be successful. Obviously, if it is to go pro, I would push a player to USC or UCLA over Stanford.

Some secrets about recruiting said...

Players that are actually good enough to consider a USC, UCLA or UVA type school don't ever use recruiters, they don't need them. No one is "pushed" to those schools, typically only one or two players in the world are lucky enough to join those rosters each year and those coaches and players do not need a recruiter's help. Most players don't, certainly not the blue chips, 5 stars and 4 stars - the coaches know who they are, that is their job. Players in the 2-3 star range might find it helpful if they can't make the connections on their own. But with video services, Google and TR, there is no reason you can't get yourself in front of coaches nowadays and find a perfect fit with a little research.

When we met with the Director of Admissions at Stanford about our plans for online high school and he said they are thrilled to see people like athletes (and others) exploring their passions because they see too many cookie cutter students and as long as they take a rigorous curriculum, they saw it as a positive. So did the Ivies recruiting our player. Btw, 2 of the 6 on the current women's roster at Stanford did online high school and so have many of their men over the years, including this season.

Avoid recruiters that make blanket generalizations. And if you have a question about what a school or coach likes or dislikes, call them yourself. You don't have to pay someone to do that.

Duke Grad said...

I just wanted to inform parents and students that, while it is obviously extremely difficult to get admitted to schools like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton that doesn't mean that the competition for grades is equal at all of these schools.

Certainly the student will have to compete with brilliant students but grade inflation has been historically unreal at two of these schools: Stanford and Harvard. A relatively recent Stanford graduate admitted to me that the average GPA at Stanford is close to a 3.7, and a relatively recent Harvard grad admitted that to graduate cum laude there, all you need to do is graduate something like the top 1/3 of the class.

A recruiter helped me said...

I have two players, one a junior in college now and the other a senior in high school. We did use a recruiter for our son, and found it very useful in helping us understand where our son would fit in best and helping us with scholarship money. He was a blue chip btw. For my daughter, I have the knowledge now to do it myself, and the scholarship money for my daughter is much easier to negotiate than with my son. And it is ridiculous if you don't think Ross has blue chip clients....

Richard said...

To Duke Grad,
"..that doesn't mean that the competition for grades is equal at all of these schools."
So, you were alluding to the well known fact thatI actual grading. once in college, differs among the schools. That is true, but you are deluding yourself if you think the students at HYP are not brilliant. You are competing against students who spent their high school time working in oncology labs or were in the Junior Math Olympics or have won many Physic awards, not sweating it out on a tennis court during the summer. My daughter is at Yale, and she says the kids are so smart, it is scary...

Duke Grad said...

Richard-You need to read my post again. I never said the students weren't brilliant. To the contrary, I specifically said that they ARE brilliant. I wrote: "Certainly the student will have to compete with brilliant students..."

I was only talking about grade inflation which is particularly relevant to the previous posters' comments that Stanford players tend to win a lot of academic awards. Those awards are purely based on GPA so schools with grade inflation will tend to have more players winning those awards, all things being equal.

Good for you that your daughter is at Yale. She must have done well in high school and on the SAT/ACT.

Tennisdad said...

Looking at Stanford's Men rooster ( freshmen are not there yet, but you can see their high schools on TRN), the entire rooster , except one student ( a Junior with an undecided major) , went to high school. So, if you want to play tennis at Stanford, it looks like bricks and mortar are the way to go over online schooling.
And not true about the Director of Admissions liking

Not sure why the school slamming said...

And getting back to tennis....it's 2014, schools at the top end look for exceptional kids whether they come from traditional high school or online programs. I agree that Ivies, Stanford and other top schools totally support online programs now, and particularly if the player is their caliber. Online schooling is a part of every admissions department's website now because it is becoming so prominent, well outside of just athletes. Stanford even offers several online programs for high school and college classes/students.

Paying for a recruiter seems really unnecessary for the better players, unless the family is not familiar with the US college system or just doesn't want to deal with it (and the "paying to get my kid into college" business is booming in many regards). Perhaps some need help standing out, explaining a slump or injury, etc, but coaches respect communication directly from the player a whole lot more than through a recruiter, they want a relationship with the player/family afterall. Buyer beware-- sure, some are ok, but many coaches dread calls from recruiters, they aren't always the bff's the recruiters will have you believe.

down on homeschooling said...

Mixed bag whether to use a recruiter. We didn't use one, and I thought the process was pretty straightforward. But, I do think homeschooling works out well for the girls, very so-so for the boys. With no teacher nagging them, I ended up doing it. My son didn't seem well prepared for college, and ended up transferring. He lost credits in the process.

Seems simple to me said...

Not sure what everyone is debating about. The new coach at Stanford is allowed to express his views on online learning.
"... a lot of junior tennis players use distance learning for their form of education which is okay. It’s just the landscape is that they are specializing in their chosen sport at an earlier age and emphasizing development in a sport sometimes perhaps at the expense of academics." It seems pretty clear that they prefer traditional schooling for their tennis athletes just by looking at their rooster. All but one is regular school.

Jamie said...

My son is the Stanford junior whose major - though unlisted on the web site - is M S & E -Management Science and engineering. It is a rigorous program and though he is maintaining a 3.7+ average it is not from inflated grades but rather a lot of hard work. He was online with Florida Virutal and Stanford's online program for high school because we traveled so much. But I did not find that he sacrificed his academics this way. He always took advanced or AP courses Yes, he did not get any Bs but this was due again to hard work as proven in his AP 5s and SAT results. None of the other boys on the tennis team were schooled online. It was true that the lack of coaching held the boys back with their tennis progress. However, I think that will change with their new coach. The boys at Stanford have had to work very hard academically and do not have an easy time. I have watched them put in long hours on the court but, in the past, these have not led to success on the court. With the coaching they will receive from Paul Goldstein, I think their results on the court will also improve. But, I do not think this will happen overnight. I expect Stanford to return to place in the top 15 tennis wise and look forward to their future sucess.

Scanlon said...

Stanford’s grade inflation has been very close to the average, historically. Harvard’s has been very high. Duke’s has been even higher than Harvard’s. That trend may have changed in recent years, but nearly all schools suffer from grade inflation. Princeton has been successful in combating it. As a side note, it’s funny how people claim that Princeton has grade “deflation”. They don’t. They just have far less grade “inflation” than most schools.

Anyway, in recent years, the difference in grade inflation between Stanford and, say, Duke, probably doesn’t account for the difference in the number of academic awards earned by their men’s tennis teams. Not to pick on Duke. Duke has been excellent as well, with 42 Scholar-Athletes in the last 13 years (~33% success rate). That’s tough to pull off when you’re trying to maintain a top 15 tennis ranking.

For comparison, the Virginia men have had 1 student-athlete in that time period earn a GPA of 3.5+. One. And Virginia is one of the top public schools in the nation. Yale have had 97 (~75% success rate). In general, that’s the price you pay for a higher tennis ranking. In this case, we’re talking about a top 5 team versus an unranked team, though – there’s a huge difference in the academic/athletic priorities of the players.