Last weekend marked a truly humbling moment in my life when a tennis court was named after me at Emory University. Emory is not only my alma mater, but also the home of my 23 year coaching career. When I retired last September, I never could have imagined one of the courts where I spent so much time would bear my name for future generations to see. To be honest, accepting recognition has never been one of my strengths, but I am learning to embrace this moment, understanding that praise not only acknowledges personal accomplishments but also inspires continued growth in others. That court sign is a testament to the hard work and passion I poured into Emory, as well as an acknowledgement of the new coaching staff’s dedication.
What fills me with immense pride is how the alumni came together to make this court naming a reality. Undoubtedly, the price tag for Court 1 was high, but they reached deep into their pockets to donate to a worthy cause: Emory women’s tennis’ mental health and well-being programming (per my request). Funds will provide player access to sports psychologists and recovery massages, as well as opportunities for international trips. I’ll happily have my name associated with these types of program enhancements for years to come, and I’m grateful for the honor.
I was also overwhelmed by how many people came to the unveiling of the court signage. These former players, friends, colleagues and family had all grown alongside me during my journey from college player to college coach. Seeing them again, reminiscing old times, and sharing life stories was a poignant reminder of the deep connections forged through college athletics. My court sign will surely bear witness to the formation of even stronger bonds through grueling practices, suicide sprints and nail-biting matches, similar to the many I experienced during my tenure.
As I reflect on the past year away from Emory, I am at peace with the legacy I left behind and energized by the success of my new business. The evolution of Bryant College Coaching proves that change can bring growth, fulfillment, and a renewed sense of purpose. It is truly rewarding to be able to pass on the wisdom and experiences I gained during my coaching career, while channeling my passion for mentoring athletes and fellow coaches. My goal now is to leave a lasting impression on my current clients, just as I did with my former players. And while I likely won’t have another tennis court dedicated to me in my lifetime, I intend to continue serving as a source of motivation outside of Emory, encouraging student-athletes and coaches to put forth their utmost effort, while maintaining a positive attitude through any and every endeavor they choose.