Pacific University’s tennis program has transformed into an elite faction to support the further success expected from both teams.
Brian Jackson was named the university’s Director of Tennis in May and has since expanded the program’s staff and overall expectations for the spring 2013 season.
The first big change in the preseason was tryouts. Both the men and women’s teams held tryouts, which in the past year were only a formality to test the necessary skill of the players.
On the men’s team, 11 out of the 15 that tried out made the team, including all five returning players.
Eleven women were also picked on the women’s side.
All five returning women made the team and six new players, three recruits and three walk-ons, are the latest addition to the Boxers.
“I like what I have,” said Jackson. “All the returners were up to par.”
The coaching staff had to make some rough cuts, said Jackson, but the players who were picked, were chosen because they would be able to provide good practice for others.
The men’s tennis team, who finished second in conference last year, is coming into preseason ready to continue their status. But with an 11-1 record, the team realizes they need to be careful.
“We have a bull’s eye on our back this year,” said Jackson, “when they play us, they’ll be wanting to pull the upset. We need to make sure we are challenging ourselves everyday.”
In Jackson’s six seasons coaching the Boxers, this seasons men’s team is best skilled in the game.
“Talent wise,” said Jackson, “this is our strongest team on paper.”
Jackson has confidence in the team this season and with returner Kolin Wong being the only senior, Jackson will be looking to Wong for leadership since the team graduated five seniors.
“As good as I think we can be, we have one senior returning” said Jackson. “The next two years look bright.”
As far as points for improvement, Jackson said reining in immaturity on the men’s team and living up to the expectations they have set for themselves will be key this season.
On the women’s side, the team’s dynamic is going through a big transformation. Two seniors who held a lot of the leadership, Cat Goya and Megan Yoshimoto, graduated this last spring.
With six new player, three freshmen and three transfers, Jackson said he thinks there will be opportunities with the variety of students.
“They are going to be a lot deeper in regards to talent,” said
Jackson. “We’ve had our talent based at the top. Our depth leads us to a greater foundation.”
Jackson said the challenge with the women’s team will be finding appropriate goals.
“We can make a name for ourselves off the bat,” he said.
He also wants to change the team’s practices and to support the work ethic he expects from the lady Boxers.
“We are going to change the effort level in the women’s program,” said
Jackson. “I’m looking to put my stamp on the program focusing on fitness and hard work.”
The women’s team has four to five new starters, but with practice and building cohesion, Jackson said he isn’t too worried.
Some of the leadership on the women’s team will be returning, in a very different role though. Goya is returning as an assistant coach on the women’s side.
Along with that, the structure of the tennis staff has changed with Jackson’s promotion to director of tennis.
Under him, there are two full-time assistant coaches, one for each team, and each of them has an assistant.
Jackson will also have his right-hand man for the men and women’s teams, coach Justin Carrier.
Graduate Patrick Kinghorn, who was an assistant coach last season on the men’s side, will be focused more in the outreach, newsletter creation and general branding. The program is well-staffed to help every player, said Jackson.
The team’s gain of recognition and goals to stay at the top of conference are being supported.
“We have a lot of tools,” said Jackson. “I’m excited to see both programs get the success they deserve.”