Do you think team dynamics and a strong culture are important in individual sports? One of the most successful coach in NCAA Tennis history tells us what he thinks about it.
Hansen is now in his seventh season as the head coach of the Middlebury men’s tennis team. He came to Middlebury from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he has served as the head men’s coach for 30 years.
In his first six seasons, he has continued the post-season tradition with the team advancing into the NCAA Tournament each year. In the spring of 2013, his team finished 20-5 with a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals, while in 2014, Hansen’s squad finished with a 21-5 mark, advancing to the NCAA final four. A year later, the Panthers advanced all the way to the national title match with a 22-5 record, tied for the second-most wins in the program’s history. In 2016, Middlebury once again advanced to the national championship match and finished the season with 20 victories. During the 2017 season, the Panthers posted a 21-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Semifinals.
The creator of the UCSC tennis program, Hansen is regarded as one of the top coaches in the country. Hansen led the team to seven NCAA Championships (1989, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2005, 2007, 2009), appearing in the finals 13 of 24 years. Hansen’s players have won 10 NCAA doubles titles and five NCAA singles titles. Under Hansen’s direction, the UCSC tennis program produced 117 All-Americans.
Hansen has been named the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Coach of the Year four times and in 2000 was honored as the ITA Coach of the Decade for the 1990s. During that time span, his teams were undefeated against Division III opponents in the regular season going with a 73-0 mark. Hansen has served as an executive board member of the ITA as well as its Division III representative. He also served as the chair of the NCAA Division III Tennis Committee as well as a member of the ITA Rules Committee.
As a player, Hansen was Northern California’s Open Player of the Year and was ranked in the top eight for five-straight years during the late 1970s. He received an ATP world ranking as well as much valuable coaching experience while playing the international circuit before coming to UC Santa Cruz. He registered wins over many top-100 players including top-10 players Brad Gilbert and Paul McNamee. He won the USTA 40 National Grass Court Championships held in Santa Barbara.
During the summers, Hansen directed the NIKE Santa Cruz Tennis Camps where he was a pioneer in the development of the tournament training program for ranked juniors.
Hansen is a 1975 graduate of San Jose State University, where he earned a degree in physical education. He later returned to his alma mater and received a Master’s degree in the same subject in 1980.
6:35 How Jerry and Bob got connected
12:35 The vital importance of culture in individual sports
18:15 Bob discusses the need for joy in sports
30:05 Get right with the feeling of success in order to truly enjoy success
36:45 Create an environment that they play because they want to play
42:50 Bob and Jerry on accountability and integrity in sport
51:35 What does Bob look for in a player?
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