Who are the "best" college coaches and how do you figure that out objectively

Discussion in 'College Tennis Talk' started by Erman, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Erman

    Erman Rookie

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    I was looking at the rankings on TRN of the recruiting classes for D-1 schools and thought about how these classes ended up in four years or as a four year rolling average. For example say Stanford or florida has the " best" recruiting classs or the top 5-6 for the last 4 years. Where do they place as a team over the next 4-5 years? Which players improve the most over their college career? In other word, which coach actually coaches to get the most out of his players as a team? Which coach improves his player's tennis game?( takes 3,4,5 stars and makes them top 10 players) Which coaches just coast and have the good fortune of working at a university that is popular but doesn't really dominate the way his recruiting rankings say he should.

    Just an interesting question and fun to see how our forum comes up with a way to answer these questions. Thanks everybody,
     
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  2. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    I think you need to evaluate based on career history and records. If I was choosing a school, I would also base my decision on location, team mates (practice), and competition (schedule).

    I will nominate my friend Peter Smith at USC for being one of the best. He is great with the players, ie a real players coach who was and still is a great player. He has won national championships and USC has a great tradition.

    Marty Davis at UCSB, Billy Martin UCLA, and Greg Patton at Boise are also greats. Many more great coaches and schools.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
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  3. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    I like Lele Forood
     
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  4. SoCal10s

    SoCal10s Hall of Fame

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    Peter Smith at USC..has got to the best got the last few years.. can't really argue with back to back NCAA titles ,but the thing I really like seeing is how USC transformed Steve Johnson.. watching him grow up in SoCal,SJ was a good junior but I saw this recruit as maybe a bottom 3 player.. SJ was out of shape . I always wondered how this kid won in SoCal when he was almost what I would call fat.. when he got into USC he shaped up and really became their top player .. for a while there even though he played 2 ,the rankings had him as the nation's top player..
     
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  5. starbucks

    starbucks New User

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    I'd agree. Smith won the coach of the year award in 2010 and it's hard to argue with the way some of his players have turned out (Johnson, Farah, Nguyen, Poldma).
     
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  6. Erman

    Erman Rookie

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    missing the point


    What I just would like to know is how would you give me proof that a guy is a good coach. I've met Peter Smith and he was a real nice guy and practiced with another player before a clay court tournament. What I want to figure out is the numbers part. For example if say Peter Smith gets a group of 4 and 5 stars and is able to make top 10 players out of them...then he's good. If he gets 3 star players and makes them top 10 players ... then he's great...and finally if he gets 3 star players, makes them top ten and makes his team NCAA champs... yep, he's the Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, Connie Mack of tennis coaches. You see what I mean. Anybody can say...yeah, he's a good coach and a nice guy and I "feel" like he's good or "I like him"..etc...

    I'd like to know who do you all think by OBJECTIVE DATA or STATS is the best coach currently or in the past. It's mainly for education for me as a curious guy. It's like saying Tony Nadal is a great coach...well yeah.. if his one student is Rafa.. or Richard Williams is the greatest coach...if your daughters happen to be Venus and Serena.

    In that manner we can see, what techniques he uses for player development in all areas to make a good player. It's a combo I think of stroke technique (for injury prevention), shot development, fitness (for injury prevention) and mental preparation for strategy and mental toughness needed to play our sport on a championship or high level.

    That's why I'd like the info. I "like" Chuck Kriese...but I can't prove he's the best.
     
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  7. Erman

    Erman Rookie

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    Well, I think you'd mention her amazing record of wins as coach of Stanford and maybe some of her other accomplishments.....

    but "I like" really isn't giving us much info. Have you seen or have information on players she's coached that have made great progress or developed where others with similar athletes might have not gotten as much from their players. I suppose with her, you could just about take any of her team from the 89 home streak win and look them up. But then again what about Frank Brennan? He might even be better than Forood.
     
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  8. Erman

    Erman Rookie

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    Actually I agree with you, Smith is good and his players have great tennis skills.
     
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  9. jaggy

    jaggy G.O.A.T.

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    As annoying as he is, I admit that Tucker at an ohio state has done very well.
     
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  10. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Understand your request but its much more work than most posters are going to supply here. Since you have such a "curiosity" I suggest doing some home work and taking the action yourself. Get stats on each incoming players W/L and ranking coming in and thier progression thru the stays at the programs of interest. Should include players physical, cardio, and mental improvements. This will probably be pretty difficult to obtain and not even sure if many pros keep such stats. Rankings and W/L's are public info. Good luck and please post your progress and results ;)
     
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  11. Erman

    Erman Rookie

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    I just didn't want to reinvent the wheel. I figure if TRN has the recruiting rankings then compRe to four year average of the team and same with players. Win-loss and final standing are I guess the marks to look at.
     
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  12. johnkidd

    johnkidd Semi-Pro

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    Before Tucker took over, OSU wasn't much better then some of the MAC schools like Ball State and Miami (before they axed the program).
     
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  13. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I know a guy well who played onr yr for Kreise at Clemson. As a junior he was top 25 nationally. During his freshman yr. at Clemson he barely played 6 and 3 doubles. When he got to Clemson he was an aggressive all-courter with a knack for some serve and volley. Kriese tried to make him into a grinder baseliner. His game and confidence suffered. He was miserable. He transfered his soph. year to a large mid-major, played #1, led them to their first top 75 ranking ever and was as high as top 30 in doubles and had single rankings (can't remember) all 3 of his years there. Just one players story with Kriese. Not sure if that's Kriese's M.O. all the time, he does have a good rep overall from what I know elsewise.
     
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  14. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I know a guy well who played onr yr for Kreise at Clemson. As a junior he was top 25 nationally. During his freshman yr. at Clemson he barely played 6 and 3 doubles. When he got to Clemson he was an aggressive all-courter with a knack for some serve and volley. Kriese tried to make him into a grinder baseliner. His game and confidence suffered. He was miserable. He transfered his soph. year to a large mid-major, played #1, led them to their first top 75 ranking ever and was as high as top 30 in doubles and had single rankings (can't remember) all 3 of his years there. Just one players story with Kriese. Not sure if that's Kriese's M.O. all the time, he does have a good rep overall from what I know elsewise.
     
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  15. The Big Dawg

    The Big Dawg New User

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    Theres Manny Diaz of Georgia, and then everyone else!!!!!
     
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  16. duusoo

    duusoo Rookie

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    This is just so subjective. Coach, what level, what criteria? I don't think there is a better coach than Peterson at Tyler Junior College. Great record, good relationship with the players, well respected. Other than Peterson, Ty Tucker is one of the best. No longer coaching, but someone who can make a program better is former U. of M. coach Dave Geatz. I would put any of these as being at or very near the top.
     
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  17. ClarkC

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    Peter Smith said in an interview a few months back (can't remember where) that he only had room for Steve Johnson in that recruiting class because of someone else not coming, rather late in the process. He did not figure that Steve Johnson would do much his first couple of years. Smith said that Johnson showed up in much better shape and playing much better than he had anticipated, and was already showing himself to be the most determined competitor on the team in the fall of freshman year.

    So, you can see how hard it is to decide whether a coach gets credit for sudden development like this, or the player gets credit. I think Smith is an excellent coach, but there is no way to make the "objective" determination of who has developed players the best.
     
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  18. tennisjon

    tennisjon Semi-Pro

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    I agree with a lot of what you say. There are many different aspects to being a good coach. If you look at winning vs. losing only you get into some aspects that can be outside of the coach's reach.

    Most matches are won or lost based on who recruits best, meaning who has the most talented, hardest working, best playing athletes. Some of that has to do with the academic and athletic reputation (would you rather have a degree from Stanford or Oregon--both good schools but if you weren't just an athlete, Stanford has a much greater reputation). Some of it has to do with location of the school. A school in Idaho will struggle to get the same players a school in Florida can get, so even the same coach won't appear as successful because the ability to recruit kids to a school in Idaho is much more difficult. Obviously, for people not getting a full-ride, costs also play into the ability to recruit. Some people are turned off by sticker shock but may not realize that some schools offer a lot more financial aid and can give you an overall better value than one who can only subsidize an athlete with athletic money.

    Once you have the players, then it comes down to a coaching staff (not just the head coach) who can help improve the players mentally, physically, technically and competitively. Coaches bring in different strengths and weaknesses, so having a staff that compliments you is important. As stated above, someone who can take a player and improve them significantly can be considered a great coach if you can do that for a significant number of players on your team.

    As a coach, the most exciting days are the days where your team could win or lose and it comes down to mid-match corrections in strategy, in having the players access what they have been working on in practice, and implementing the correct game plan to win. It is always interesting to me to see certain coaches of supposedly good teams who essentially cheerlead, but make minimal input on mid-match strategy/positioning. Players go to those schools partially because they see a successful program, but in reality the program is good because either the coach is a good recruiter or the school is desirable. That's why I always recommend prospective athletes to go to do an overnight with the team and attend a practice, a match, and a class.

    To me, the best coaches win more of the doubles points compared to the singles because it is in doubles where the strategies, positioning, teamwork, etc. win out. Because of this, I would like to see doubles emphasized more in D1. Make doubles best of 3 sets with a super-breaker for the 3rd set and play no-ad scoring. It won't significantly add too much time to the match, but it will increase the emphasis of doubles in the overall match and the role coaching plays in it.
     
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  19. polski

    polski Semi-Pro

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    Wooden would be the first to have told you that you can't be a great coach unless you have great players. See his "Pyramid of Success" under the block for "Skill": http://www.coachwooden.com/index2.html . Then, listen to his Maxim's.

    If you can turn a 3-star recruit into a top-10 collegian, you are friggin Houdini.
     
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  20. Will Wilson

    Will Wilson Rookie

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    Minnesota's Geoff Young

    Since taking over 3-4 years ago, he has improved the program every year without the advantage of top recruits that tend to gravitate to high level, southern programs. The Golden Gophers have been ranked as high as 16th this year, with a current ranking of 22nd.

    Geoff recruits players with potential and then develops that potential. Additionally, he is a great ambassador for the program - respectful of players, fans and opponents alike. He is well liked and respected: it won't be long before some top level recruits will start to recognize Minnesota as a great opportunity.
     
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  21. PennAlum

    PennAlum Rookie

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    That is Kriese's MO. He wants everyone to play high percentage drinding tennis. He has no room for individual style and creativity and it's his way or the highway. I knew a few players under him who were great juniors but hated him. And yes, one was a S&V'er and Kriese wanted him to stay back and grind which made him miserable.
     
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  22. Erman

    Erman Rookie

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    this is great. That's what I wanted to find out and discuss. First, who do you all think are the best and then what do they do to the players or for the players to exhibit the abilities of the coach.
     
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  23. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I find it interesting to know more about college coaches and how the work and interact with their players. Some are more flexible, some are rigid in their methods. Sounds like in Kriese's case if you are not a high percentage baseliner you may want to look elsewhere. Could you imagine if an Isner or Milanovic played for him?

    On another similar front, I also knew a very good golfer who played 2 years at Kansas. Although his scores were varsity level, because of his swing and the coach wanting him to change it, he would not let him in the varsity lineup. He transfered and had an excellent last 2 years.

    I know this may not be to the OP's question. My take is that a junior player wanting to play college tennis better make sure he is a fit not just for the school and tennis program, but make sure he and the coach will be the right fit. Common sense rules here but course mistakes happen.
     
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  24. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    Let's not be shy. Name names

    Kriese was stubborn in his approach to the game, but you cant argue with his results. A current player(Ill name him if you want) told me that Kriese was his favorite coach and that he was "kinda fired". McCuen was controversial appointed head coach considering several other coaches were interested in the job.
     
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  25. andfor

    andfor Hall of Fame

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    I'd rather not be public for a few reasons. If you really want to know you can email me from my profile.
     
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  26. IlliniSky

    IlliniSky Rookie

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    LOL. And tOSU has never been accused of stacking either. They shuffle their lineup more than a card dealer in Las Vegas.
     
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  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I think digging into this yourself (as someone else proposed) would be a really good idea. It would be something that could be used as a reference by others. You have a basic idea of what to do; see how it comes out. You'd have to make some assumptions and set your own rules, which would get nit-picked, but I think you could have a useful reference.
    I'm guessing Patton at Boise St. would do well by that system but, of course, I don't know. (Plus, he recruits American kids.)
     
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  28. ClarkC

    ClarkC Hall of Fame

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    By the time Kriese left, what were his results exactly? It seems that Clemson tennis had become irrelevant in the ACC by the time he left.
     
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  29. Clemson_tennis

    Clemson_tennis Legend

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    Well his very last season was horrid. But I don' think he intended that to be his final season as he was "kinda fired" But in 2007 we were literally 2 points away from the NCAA final 16, but Ryan Young dropped a heartbreaker to Wake Forest as we lost 4-3. We were a consistent tournament team in the 2000's. We were ranked in the 30's in 2004 and made a run to the elite 8. That was the team with Nathan Thompson,Jarmaine Jenkins,Clement Reix and the gang.

    I wouldn't call that irrelevant.
     
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  30. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    How amazing are her wins when she's had pretty much the cream of the recruiting crop each year? Any mug could have done a great job with the players she had; that's not the sign of a good coach.

    Bryan Shelton is a much, much better example of a quality coach. He's been able to attract first-rate recruits (Kristy Miller, Irina Falconi, Rebecca Marino; who had signed but opted to go pro) to a school that wasn't one a tennis powerhouse and isn't an easy sell (like Stanford, UCLA, USC, Georgia, etc) and blend them into a championship winning team. Look at the players he had in that team and you'll see that only Miller was a stand-out. Other than her the team consisted of a few freshman and a few senior players without great credentials. He got them to play above their perceived level (Amanda McDowell going on to win the NCAA singles the following year) and that's the halmark of a great coach.
     
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  31. cmb

    cmb Semi-Pro

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    2005 were ranked in the top 15, and 2006 were ranked as high as #5. 2007 sucked and they have sucked ever since IMO
     
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