DeLAND, Fla. - At the end of day one in the A-Sun Men’s and Women's Tennis Championship, four teams advanced to the second round of tournament play from the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center on the campus of Stetson University. Two of those teams hail from Buies Creek, NC and are coached by Campbell’s head coach David Johnson.
Johnson stands as the only head tennis coach in the league to have both him men’s and women’s tennis squads continue into the second round of play.
“It is very satisfying because in the league now there is just myself and two other coaches that coach both teams,” Johnson said. “Truth be known, it is increasingly harder to be equally competitive with both programs. You are consistently going up against teams that have just one coach and therefore they can devote all of their time and attention whereas I have to flip mine or at least try and do so. It’s a real testimony to the players. They have been very cooperative and we have managed to get through it so it has proved to be very rewarding.”
The challenges can be troublesome when coaching several top league teams at one time.
“You can only be at one place at one time and then to try to devote as much time and energy and effort into one program,” Johnson said. “If you overdo it on one side then the other team tends to suffer. You have to try to find a balance somewhere in there and sometimes that is a challenge.”
However, the head coach has found more often than not, that the rewards greatly outweigh the difficulties. After four matches played in the first round Thursday, Campbell stands twice among four programs who return to play Friday.
“The rewards are obvious in the sense that like today we won two matches,” Johnson said. “I could be the only one going home having said that. I enjoy being able to go back and forth.”
Two programs who share the same coach can also benefit in sharing camaraderie as Johnson can go back and forth between teams, which has proved to be a great advantage on the courts.
“I think in general they are pretty close,” Johnson said. “More often than not, we do travel and practice and frequently compete alongside each other so I think in addition to the team and their teammates, beyond that I think each of them has big brothers or big sisters, in the form of the other team. I think that is a good ingredient and they benefit from that greatly. When you have more people in your corner offer support, encouragement and are cheering it certainly helps. It adds to that atmosphere of college tennis, which we like to see. We will try to get as much mileage out of it as we can.”