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Real World: Arizona State's Sheila McInerney

As Head Coach at Arizona State, Coach Sheila McInerney has led the Sun Devils to the NCAA tournament in 26 of her 27 seasons. McInerney-led teams have had their share of success as well, making 18 Sweet Sixteen appearances and reaching the quarterfinals on eight occasions during her tenure. McInerney has been inducted into the ITA and Southwest Section Hall of Fame for her service to the tennis community and college coaching achievements.

ASU Coach Sheila McInerney with Jessica Leitch
courtesy, Arizona State athletics
Coach McInerney is the subject of our latest installment of The Real World of College Recruiting with recruiting expert Annette Broersma. These real stories should help potential recruits better understand the road ahead.

Broersma talks with McInerney about her experiences and philosophy in college recruiting and coaching.


Annette Broersma (AB): What is the best way for a recruit to approach you?

Sheila McInerney (SM): I prefer to have a prospect e-mail me directly. Give me a little background on you as a person, your year in school, upcoming tournament schedule, and where you train and with whom. If you have a coach, please include his/her e-mail and phone number. It is Important for me to know why you are interested in Arizona State University; whether it is our location, an academic field of interest, team ranking, weather, conference, coaching experience, etc.


AB: What 'measuring sticks' carry the most weight with you?

SM: Overall tennis resume is more important to me than the ranking: who have you beaten, and who have you lost to. Are you competitive with top ranked players? Do you beat people you are favored to beat? How do you do in close matches? If you happen to lose, I like to see a 6-2, 7-5 rather than a 7-5, 6-2. How do you do in three-set matches?


AB: What about player videos?

SM: I am not a big fan of videos - especially with American recruits. If I have your upcoming tournament schedule and I feel you are a potential recruit, I will come and watch you play.


AB: Can you tell us about your 'best' recruits?

SM: In regards to our program at Arizona State I have found that our most successful players/recruits are the ones that really want to come to ASU. Collegiate tennis is extremely rewarding and a fantastic experience, but it is also very demanding. As a student-athlete, you have to jump in with both feet. There will always be bumps along the way, so choosing the right university environment is critical.

I have not had any bad experiences with recruits. The biggest surprise I have had is underestimating a recruit who was extremely quiet on a visit; I figured she was not enjoying the trip. That experience, and with two others, I thought we had no chance at getting the player but the player loved the visit and turned out to be a great Sun Devil. They were dying to come!

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