Aug. 31, 2006
FORT WORTH, Texas - Gofrogs.com recently caught up with the new men's tennis head coach Dave Borelli. After spending the last four seasons coaching the TCU women, Borelli will take over his first men's collegiate program.
GoFrogs.com: What makes TCU a special place for you?
Dave Borelli: The closeness of the people I work with is a big factor. The design of the campus and where it's located makes it a beautiful place. You come to work every day and it's a wonderful place to be. It's all about people here. The people I work with and the kids I coach, and the people here in Texas, and particularly TCU, are wonderful.
GoFrogs: You've had an outstanding coaching career, winning seven national championships. Is there any one moment that sticks out as the most memorable?
Borelli: The first time we won the national title at USC. When we were at the match point, the concept of winning a championship was overwhelming. My three most-favorite teams as a coach were the 1977 championship team, which was my first championship, and the last two years at TCU with the women's program. Beating Texas last year, when Kewa (Nichols) got the match point to win, was probably the most amazing moment for me because I knew we had really arrived.
GoFrogs: Last season, Jordan Freitas and Rafael Abreu made it to the semifinals in the NCAA Doubles Championship. How do you plan on replacing these departed seniors?
Borelli: You replace people like that with character and good work ethic. The important thing for us is you have to replace those kids with guys that work hard. It's not about results; it's about the process. It's all about the way you do things to make them happen. You try to get kids to understand that concept of having goals and understanding what it takes to achieve those goals. I want to continue to plant seeds as we have in the past with the men's program, to understand the process it takes, and this relates to the classroom, interaction with other people, and on the tennis court.
GoFrogs: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?
Borelli: What I've told each and every kid is that I want them to first understand what we're trying to do. They need to understand what their purpose is and why they're going to college and why they're on the tennis court, and really just learning more about themselves. My goal is to get them to do something in their game to make them three or four points better a set. It's a simple concept, a difficult thing to do, but it's that simple in terms of improvement. My second goal is to try to build a foundation and a vision of what my program at TCU should be.
GoFrogs: What do you like to do in your free time outside of tennis?
Borelli: I love watching movies and the History Channel. To be able to take a break and relax and watch a movie is great.
GoFrogs: Have you received any nicknames from your players in the past?
Borelli: When I was with the men's pro tour they always called me Davo, and my team now calls me that. That's a name I picked up from the guys with the USTA, and it stuck with me.
GoFrogs: This is the first time in your coaching career that you will lead a men's collegiate program. Talk about what this means to you and how it will be different.
Borelli: It's a new challenge. Whether we are number one or not isn't the issue. It's about the process, and the idea that I'm doing everything I can to make us the best team in the country. I coached men with the USTA, and it was more involved than most people realize. Being in a college environment is easy. I have a great strength and conditioning coach in Mar Magnussen, a great academic advisor in Judy Golden, and we'll have a new assistant coach soon, so we have a great base here. I'm under the gun a little bit because people want to see what I can do on the men's side, and that's a great challenge for me. It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm really excited that the administration had a lot of confidence and provided me with that option. It comes down to developing a vision of what I want with the program. I've always been good with setting a certain goal for myself and staying on course with that. My goal is to do certain things that provide the program with a vision of what it will stand for, and then the winning will come in spite of anything.
GoFrogs: How has practice been going so far?
Borelli: I spent a lot of time working with the kids to help them understand what we're trying to do with practice. The most important thing in any tennis player is understanding what they're trying to do. It's all perception, and I've been trying to get them to understand that. The bottom line is, after these six weeks, we will be better players.
GoFrogs: What was it like coaching on the men's pro tour for the U.S. Tennis Association, which included several of the world's top-100 ranked players and an Olympic medalist?
Borelli: Unbelievable. They were into supporting each other and working together. It was just an amazing time. The experience for a coach was short of being in Disneyland. The guys wanted it bad, and they wanted to do everything it took to be good. It was great for me because it gave me a chance to be around top-100 players and see how they think and how they perceive practice. There is a common thread about all these players, and it all comes down to them understanding the process of what it takes to be great.