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Talking with Endicott Coach Jeremy Howard
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Jeremy Howard, former standout for the University of Richmond tennis team, has recently taken over as the head coach of men's and women's tennis at Endicott College in Mass. Howard takes over a Gulls women's team that won the Commonwealth Coast championship last season and advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. The men's team went 10-12 in 2011-12.

Endicott men's and women's coach Jeremy Howard
courtesy, Jeremy Howard
Contributor Harry Cicma talked with Coach Howard about how he will approach his first college coaching assignment - and the challenges of heading up both the men's and women's programs.
 

Questions and Answers

Harry Cicma (HC): What are you most excited about as a first year head coach?

Jeremy Howard (JH): As cliché as it sounds, I am excited to have the chance to work with college-aged kids on a daily basis. Helping them grow both on and off the court is as rewarding as it gets. The fact that I get paid and it's called a job is just icing on the cake.

 

HC: How will your experience playing D-I at Richmond help you lead the team?

JH: I think bringing a D-I mentality to the way I organize everything - from team practices, to recruit visits, to getting both physically and mentally stronger - can only help our teams. Of course, I recognize that we are D-III, and so I'm not expecting players to dedicate the same amount of time and resources that they would have to at a D-I level, but i think the time we spend on tennis will be time well spent.

 

HC: Your older brother, Alex Howard, also was a top D-I player at Richmond; how has he helped your growth as a player and coach?

JH: Growing up, it always gave me something to aim for - to have the same level of success that he did. Granted, I never quite made it as far, but that doesn't mean having that goal didn't help to inspire me.

In terms of coaching, just being around him helps me. He is more knowledgeable about junior tennis than anyone I know.

 

HC: What are the challenges of coaching both the men's and women's teams?

JH: It's really just a time management thing, which has always been a strength of mine. Obviously each gender provides some slightly different challenges, but at the end of the day, my job for both teams is to provide them with the best student-athlete experience possible.

In my experience, it's really not all that different. I've worked with players of both genders from the ages of 8 to 22 since I was 18 years old. So in terms of communicating with them, it really hasn't been - and wont be - an issue for me. Like I already said, it really just comes down to proper time management, making sure both teams are getting what they need from me and the assistants.

 

HC: What are your goals with the program? What will it take to reach those goals?

JH: With the women its simple - they've won our conference title two of the past four years. So let's build on that success and become a conference powerhouse - and make headway into the NCAA D-III tournament. Instead of just showing up happy to be part of it, lets win a round or two and go from there.

The men have had sustained success over past five years or so, making the conference semifinals five of the past six years. The next level is to compete for the title - and to starting winning the conference.

The start of accomplishing both goals is recruiting. I'll be looking to recruit for the top of my lineup - not just replacements. If i get a class in of, say, three freshman, and they play towards the top the llineup, then I've done a good job. I'm not just looking for players to round out my roster.

Once I have a team in place, the next part is fine tuning technique and strategy to make them into complete players. If we start to do that year after year, the goals above are 100% attainable.

 

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About Harry Cicma

When it comes to college tennis, Harry Cicma is your man. Cicma covers tennis and other athletic stories for NBC Sports, writing articles and producing video segments.

He is co-founder and host of World Tennis a weekly tennis show on NESN, and host of of Tennis Live Radio's College Corner.

Cicma competed as a junior in USTA/New England and went on to play college tennis at Rutgers University. As a professional, Cicma competed at the ATP Newport tournament and the San Jose Siebel Open. He reached a career-high #75 in the ATP doubles team rankings and #1262 in the ATP Entry System.

In media, Cicma has run the gamut. He has worked for NBC, CBS, ABC, ESPN, FOX Sports Net, the Tennis Channel, and World Team Tennis. Cicma has announced NCAA sports as well as the US Open Tennis Championships on both TV and radio.

 
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