Q: What made you decide to get into coaching college tennis?
Brown: First off, I was missing the team atmosphere and camaraderie from my playing days. Coaching and being around the same group of players day-in and day-out really appealed to me. Furthermore, the opportunity to coach at Virginia and coach with Brian Boland was an opportunity I couldn't pass up and one that doesn't come around very often. Brian has built this program up to the powerhouse that it is today through a unique coaching philosophy of investing time with the players and building relationships with them both on and off the court. After spending some time with him and learning about the program and the University and what it stands for, it was a no-brainer for me join the coaching staff. I am very grateful to Brian for the opportunity he gave me.
Q: What is like for you to work on a daily basis with players who are not only currently at the top of the collegiate game, but also have aspirations of playing at the highest level of professional tennis in the future?
Brown: It is very challenging, but also very rewarding at the same time and I wouldn't trade it for anything. You have to treat each individual player differently and adjust to them as each player has different game-styles, personalities, strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement. Every practice is different. However, working with high-level, elite athletes that have aspirations to play professionally makes the job fun and exciting.
Q: What did you learn from your collegiate career that you have tried to teach the players here?
Brown: The main thing is to really apply yourself not only with your tennis and academics, but also socially with the relationships you develop with your teammates and coaches. These relationships you build will last a lifetime. The college experience is very unique and is an important stepping stone to your career and life after college. For a tennis player, whether they want to turn pro after college or not, their college experience will not only allow them to develop and mature both mentally and physically as tennis players, but also as human beings. Our goal as coaches is to help guide them with their development so that when they graduate, they are able to face any challenge or endeavor that they wish to pursue and hopefully succeed.
Q: You played in a NCAA final at Vanderbilt and coached in a NCAA final at Virginia. How were those experiences the same, and how were they different?
Brown: Well, the result was the same, haha. Both as a player and a coach we lost 4-3 and the last match, ironically, went to 6-4 in the 3rd set. The differences between the two Finals was as a player at Vandy, we were the heavy underdogs to win, as Illinois was undefeated all year, so we came in very loose and relaxed. This helped our performance as we had nothing to lose and it showed with the energy we brought to that match. Last year with Virginia, we were undefeated and were more of the favorites to win the match, although USC had won the title 2 years in a row. In both matches, the energy and atmosphere was fantastic and, win or lose, it was a great experience for the players to have. Like every match, we learn from these experiences and the goal is to get a little bit better each day so we are more prepared for the moment when the opportunity to succeed presents itself.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your time on the Virginia staff?
Brown: I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from such great coaches in Coach Boland and Coach Pedroso and also to coach such devoted and hungry players. The goal is to keep learning and working with the players and coaches to get the most out of our abilities each day.