When he's not teaching students about the finer points of business at Cranford High School teacher Richard Goldstein is coaching the Lady Cougars on how to get busy on the tennis courts.
And Goldstein, in his sixth year coaching, seems to be doing a good job. This year's varisty squad finished with an 11-4 record, and placed in the top five of the Star-Ledger girl's tennis standings. Other honors include:
- 2nd place team conference.
- 2nd place all conference
- 1st Singles Marianna Dzunova, Union County 9th ranking
- 1st Place All Conference
- 1st Doubles Alexandra Czrysnic and Kerry Wishusen
- 2nd Place All Conference
- 2nd Doubles Marissa Dankosky, Anna Lee Gallo
- Advanced 3 teams in the county tournament
- Qualified for the state tournament.
Patch talked to Goldstein about his coaching career and the highs and lows of this year's tennis season.
Why do you coach? Describe what the best moments are like for you?
I love to help build sports programs and watch kids get better with playing the game. Tennis is a life sport, and I try to tell them that no matter what age, from 7 to 70, you will be able to play the sport. When I recruit players from other sports, its great to see them grasp the concepts of tennis, and really get into the game.
The best moments for me are when someone is unsure if they want to play and they get involved, learn the sport, and play for the rest of their high school career. I really enjoy seeing the girls get better and have more confidence in themselves.
What's the biggest challenge to coaching girl's tennis?
Many girls come to the high school with little or no tennis experience, so we need to build the program, while competing against teams with seasoned players.
Who does everyone want to play like? Who are the tennis idols you hear referenced most often by team members?
They mention Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal a lot.
Walk me through this season? The highs and the lows.
The highs: winning as many as we did, 14. The county and state finishes. The Lows: losing the 3-2 match against Morristown in the state match and the loss against New Providence the last time we met with them. Both could have gone either way, but in the end we were not able to pull it off.
What do you recommend to a young girl with dreams of playing varsity tennis one day?
Begin practicing while they are young. Just go out and hit the ball with a friend or parent. Have fun with it. The more you get out and play, the better you'll be. Also, try to watch tennis to see how the pros do it.
What's been your most memorable season coaching?
This Year. The girls were great, willing to learn, and determined to win.
It was Marianna Dzunova's senior year, and she played with an injured ankle throughout the season, and still had a great year. She only lost 3 out of 14 matches.
The other girls also fought hard and always competed to 110-percent.