the lines are still good

Follow the happenings of an animated college tennis coach and his teams in their pursuit of an NCAA National Tennis Championship. It is always the impressive trophy that is displayed for all to admire that gets the attention, but it is the journey to claiming that trophy, the relationships built, the people served and the memories created, that live forever...and what I hope you will find interesting...

Monday, May 31, 2010

News and notes...

Just a few odds and ends for you crazy Clipper fans:

Wednesday marks the beginning of the Westchester Open being played at Lake Isle Country Club. Andrey Boldarev is entered. Results will be posted when available.

Queens College (NY) coach Craig Schwartz is out in California participating in the Ojai Challenger. Craig is entered in the Qualifying Draw of the doubles with partner Michael Rubin. They will be taking on the #1 seeded partnership of Conor Pollock and Michael Venus tomorrow June 1st. Check back for results.

I am heavily hitting the recruiting these days. It is not going to be easy replacing Alex Grubin who essentially is irreplaceable...or is he? Stay tuned for signing announcements and to find out who your newest Clippers will be this fall.

Nuff said...

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Yes folks "horrendous" that is the word that comes to mind at this particular junction. Why Coach Dano you ask??? Well Coach Dano just humbly spent a couple of hours on the tennis court and the word horrendous just about sums it up.

Tennis is truly a great sport. Moreover, it is a lifelong sport. Anyone can enjoy tennis at any level correct? Wrong! Not me. Honestly, I have been away from the practice court for far too long and to close to the buffet table far too often. Also, Ben & Jerry's / Mr. Softee...yummy. I remember when I was practicing with the team at least three days per week as my hospital schedule allowed. I remember practicing in the early morning with Roddy Teixeira before work in preparation for old man USTA 35 and over tournaments, wining several. I remember throwing severe beatings to Borrelli when he was playing #1 singles at Concordia. My how things have changed.

I am pleased to report that current Clipper Andrey Boldarev is excited about his tennis and is preparing to play some competitive local tournaments as well as some ITF futures this summer. I, today, enjoyed putting him through some hitting drills and getting in some hitting myself. But good God man, my tennis game has gone to the WC (that stands for water closet for those playing along at home), in other words the toilet. Secondly, here is a free tip for you all, you can't hit the ball if you can't get to it. I mean, what the holy heck. I move like a dead cow, molasses, a turtle with a snail on his back, the college services department at Concordia. Ok, you get the idea. SLOWLY!

One of the hardest things to do is to play and enjoy a game that you can't play the same way anymore. Frustrating. Of course, I realize that, despite my serve and volley style, I was never going to be confused with Stefan Edberg, but still my game has deteriorated to a level that is difficult to enjoy. Yes, yes, I know, I must learn to accept this fact and find a way to still enjoy the opportunity to play at whatever level that may be. Perhaps heavy drinking may help, who knows. Well, one good thing comes to mind that didn't hit me until just now: Nothing hurts at this very moment. Now there is a "win".

Decision time! Three choices...

1. Simply devote more time to practice and play, in addition to losing 20lbs, to get back to a suitable level that I can be happy with.

2. Learn to accept this current state of horrendousness and enjoy the opportunity to play and enjoy the fellowship with others on the court and everything else that goes with the game of tennis.

3. Quit!

Maybe I will even create poll on the side of the blog. Feel free to cast your vote or leave a comment. Something has to be done.

Nuff said...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oh my brother...

Watched a good portion of the Monfils vs. Fognini match today at the French Open and was quite interested. I gotta say, it is quite amusing that these announcers badgered Fognini throughout the entire first three sets suggesting that he had no character and was just the type of player to lay down and give away a match when things were not going his way. They could not have been more wrong could they?

I mean Fognini, playing not only Monfils, but also the French crowd all pulling for the Frenchman, could easily have bowed out in straight sets and hit the showers, collected his check and hit the cafe for an overpriced croissant. This would have made the idiot announcers look pretty smart. But no! Fognini, showing great character, tremendous toughness and flashing great tennis fought back and leveled the match in the fifth and final set when the match was called due to darkness past 10pm local time.

Honestly, I am getting tired of watching tennis with the sound on. I find these guys and gals (announcers) as annoying as American Idol's William Hung singing. For some reason, every tennis announcer no longer refers to a player by his or her name. Now it is only where they are from. The Frenchman, the American, the Serb. Also, it's the American backhand, the Argentine serve, or the Indian volley. Simply ANNOYING!!! Lastly, what is the deal with Justin Gimmelslob? That cheesy permanent fake smile. I just can't take it. I love to watch tennis. I love the game. Funny though, I almost prefer to watch my college team play or Coach Neil's USTA squad. This way I can provide the commentary and you know I like the sound of my own voice :)

What do you think?

Nuff said...

Monday, May 24, 2010


Well it looks like another farce. Yes that's right, once again we are in the process of compiling the NCAA II National Tennis Rankings as per the ITA. I hate to sound so negative but this process is somewhat of a joke and it seems likely that the Final Rankings will once again be fairly my opinion of course.

We certainly try very hard to get our East Regional rankings correct, as it is important for the kids who work so hard and that deserve the due recognition. I am not so sure that National committee feels the same obligation.

Well time will tell. I hope that some fair and accurate rankings are produced this week.

Nuff said...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Academic Achievement...

Hello again Clipper fans,

It has been a great season with many success stories on the court. Many great achievements and subsequent memories created. However, one area that is not often highlighted is that of the academic success.

This year the team compiled a collective Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.11 on a 4.0 scale. This is essentially a B to B+ average. I would say that this is a strong accomplishment and indicates that we strive for excellence both on the court and in the classroom. This coach believes strongly in the "student athlete" and emphasizes such achievement. Unfortunately, we fell just short of our goal of reaching Academic All-American status as a team as a 3.2 GPA is needed.

In some great news, Raphael and Andrey have qualified for Academic All-American status as individuals and have thus achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher for the entire scholastic year. Congratulations boys and keep up the good work.

If you should happen to bump into any of the players, feel-free to congratulate them on a wonderful athletic and scholastic season. These are young men to be proud of and also student athletes to be encouraged for further success. The time goes by quickly my friends, enjoy the ride to the fullest.

Nuff said...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What a long strange trip its been...

The Magic Bus came to a screeching halt in the Final Four as we lost to Barry 5-0. Our opponent was just a little too tough for us as we seemed to get off to a slow start everywhere. Of course, when you get to this level in the tournament, and compete versus the highest level of competition, you simply cannot afford to be sluggish. It was really all about which team was able to rise to the moment and Barry was that team. I wish them good luck in the final versus Valdosta.

I apologize for the delay in this post but this was a tough loss. So many things were going through my head and I just could not bring myself to start typing...not sure I would have made it through without the typing of some curse words.

I really wanted a trophy of another kind for the players, administrators and our Clipper community. We have had a great season and I have really enjoyed myself. I think we did many things right. I hope that the players had fun as well and have learned from the experience. Perhaps they have collected many fond memories to be stored away for a long time.

A special thank you to Alex who will be leaving our team after four seasons of participation. A coach once told me that the best thing about seniors is that they do not come back next year. I could not disagree with him more. I always miss my seniors and am grateful for their contributions. Alex joins the group of "former Clippers" but will always be a part of our Concordia Tennis Family. Best of luck in your future endeavors. I have no doubt that you will set school records in cross country, I am just not sure which records.

Now the challenge goes out to the returning players. They will need to get better if they expect to continue the success. There will only be one Magic Bus as next year they must start another journey. Be diligent over the summer and strive for excellence.

Now for the tough part. This is not easy to write. This has been a great year but also a tough year for me. So many things going on in life. So many things. When I started this coaching journey I was interested in strength and conditioning for the players, tennis specific. Shortly thereafter I was back on the court both playing and coaching. I developed a hunger to become #1 in the region and to advance to the National Sweet 16. Once I got here six years ago, I got the urge to win a National Championship, a passion really. I have always tried my best. I have not always made the right decisions at times but the effort was there I promise you. Well, no Championship, but some results that I am proud of. Results not limited to actions on the tennis court alone but also in the classroom and in the community.

Friends, this is my stop. It is time for me to hop off the bus. It has been such a great ride for me and I love you all for what you have done. Receiving the Assistant Coach of the Year award on the National level is something very special to me and please know that I have this as a result of your contributions, love and support. My most sincere thanks to my tennis family.

May God bless you. It has been nice playing with you!

Nuff said...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Final Four...

Well folks, we did it. We advanced to the Final Four for the second consecutive year. Quite an achievement for us. I hope that this year we are rewarded for such an accomplishment. That being said, there is still more work to do. We are hungry to advance to the finals and also all the way to the title. Hey, why not us?

We defeated St. Edwards University 5-1 this afternoon and continued to play the good tennis. Although we did not play as well as yesterday in the doubles, we were still able to take two of three from a doubles savvy SEU squad. All doubles matches were closely contested and came down to just a few points. In the end, we handled the big points better and perhaps were even a little lucky in some spots.

As the attention turned to singles, we essentially dominated the action. Andrey, Alex and Andreas defeated their opponents with little difficulty. When the action ended, we were once again substantially ahead on all courts. Congratulations to the fellas on another great match and also to St. Edwards on a great season. I really like that SEU coach. He approaches his duties with energy and emotion and is certainly excited to be a part of his team. I wish more coaches brought his passion to the court. I even saw him literally give one of his players the shirt off of his back. Of course, I wish he had not suggested that he would like to fight me at one point during the doubles. I guess at times the heat of competition clouds judgement.

In any case, we have a rematch versus Barry tomorrow at 1pm. Barry ended our season last year and also beat us badly in early March. However, we and they are completely different teams now and I expect another war similar to last year's semifinal.

After our match today we spent some time relaxing at the pool. The players always seem to be ready to eat so after the refreshing swim we gathered everyone at Kobe for a Japanese meal. Always great fun to have the women's team join us in fellowship. We had a little fun in the hotel lobby and now it is off to bed for some much needed sleep. Gees, only six more hours to wait for the breakfast buffet...YES!!!

I think we have a great shot to win tomorrow but it is not going to be easy. I hope the players believe as well. WE CAN DO IT!

Nuff said...

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Smooth sailing everyone. We started strong versus BYU Hawai'i 5-0 (click here for box score) to open up the tournament. I must admit that I was a little concerned about BYU as they had really been playing well coming into the event and are ranked quite a bit lower in the rankings from where they should be. In addition, I was unsure if the fellas were going to be able to play well right out of the gate as we had not played a tough match for a while; one with so must importance.

Thankfully, the players were sharp. They started strong, and for the most part, did not take the foot of the pedal so to speak. I was very impressed with our doubles play which will certainly be a major factor in how we do the rest of the way. Tamas and Andreas played with great energy and focus and cruised to an 8-1 victory. It was very gratifying to see all three courts making the good decisions. I have been preaching, begging, yelling and using a few other tactics with some success during the season but today the team showed that they do listen...sometimes. Great job! When we play with energy, focus and make the good decisions, we are tough to beat.

After the doubles sweep, the two needed singles points came from familiar places. As usual, Tamas and Andreas at #5 and #6 came through with the wins. However, most everyone else was in command as well. I certainly could not have asked for a better start to the tournament and I hope we can continue along the path to the prize. It is not going to be easy as next up today is St. Edwards University at 1pm. I expect temps to be up well into the 80's today again and that sun is hot on a tennis court, even for the coaches.

You can follow us online at for live footage and scoring. With a win today we will advance back to the "Final Four" for the second year in a row. Maybe that would earn us a decent ranking this time (sarcasm intended).

Welcome to Kathy and Ivan who made the trip last night to take a seat on the Magic Bus (or as the coaching staff from Armstrong Atlantic calls it...the "Clipper Fun Machine" for the rest of the tournament. Nice to have you. See you on the courts.

Be well everyone.

Nuff said...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A great season...

Hi again Clipperfans. I have some sad news to report. The ladies fell this morning to a terrific Hawai'i Pacific team 5-1. Yulia was the only winner at #3 singles as she continues to impress at the young age of 17. All other courts battled but the opponent was simply too tough today. I really believe that the ladies represented themselves and the college well today. They deserve respect for their efforts and I know that they will continue to get better and will be back in the Final 16 again next season. Great job to the entire team from coaches to players. Also, congratulations to Cristina on a wonderful college career and best of luck to you in your bright future.

Of course we also wish the best of luck to Hawai'i Pacific moving forward. As I mentioned in an earlier post, once you win a round, you are a threat to win the championship. I have been so impressed by so many of the young men and women participating in this event and the ladies from HPU are no exception. Congratulations! Also, nice to meet the rest of the Pampulov family today. Thanks for spending a few moments with me.

There is a nice buzz around the event grounds today. There seems to be quite a nice level of passion about. I like to look around and see the players, parents, friends, family, staff and administrators all with some sort of passion for the game of tennis and the student athletes that they are here to support. These sorts of championship events really bring out emotions...both good and bad I suppose. I guess I believe that the best thing to do is to take care of your own business, give your best, and let the rest take care of itself. I always chuckle a bit when I see some others get involved with nonsense about player eligibility and other negative sentiment concerning another team and or coaching staff. This is truly an event to be enjoyed and hopefully to store away many fond memories, not to induce stress and hard feelings. Well, that is my plan anyway, we shall see.

Turning the page, we will travel to a local facility to get a short hit in prior to the match. It is a hot day so we don't want to spend too much time and energy on the practice court for sure. Most matches seem to be going along according to plan and time. As a result, I expect first serve to be at 4pm. If you want to check in on the match, their will be live footage at

Lastly, please join me in praying that there will be no injuries today to any of the student athletes and that everyone has a great time and does their best.

That's all I have for now. Be well everyone.

Nuff said...

Good Morning...

Hello everybody! Top of the morning to you.

An early Hilton wake up call has us up and about so that we can grab a little breakfast and get right over to the courts to support the ladies in their match versus Hawai'i Pacific. It is difficult as a coach because in my heart of hearts I think the guys should have rested and slept just a little more so as to be prepared for our match at 4pm. However, that being said, all of the fellas wanted to start early and support the girls. This makes me happy too. It has been a special year because we have terrific young men on the team and it is also very gratifying to see the two teams get along so well and support each other.

As a result, off for the buffet table and probably to witness some more of Coach Neil's relationship building with random people.

See you soon.

Nuff said...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oh what a night...

It's a late night blog post for you guys. It was a night of celebration for all of the student athletes on hand as well as the coaches and tennis programs in general. The NCAA held its annual banquet tonight and we were treated to a special occasion.

First off, the NCAA presented awards to all of the teams. Included in each package was a portfolio folder, wristbands and bag tags, and a laptop case. All with the NCAA insignia. Very nice indeed and items sure to be used by all recipients. A nice dinner was prepared with salad, potatoes, garlic bread, chicken marsala and steak; not to mention a choice of delicious desserts. My choice of course was to sample them all!

Our guest speaker for the evening was Natalie Spilger, professional soccer player for the Chicago Fire. Natalie gave an interesting speech about her passion of "green" environmentally conscious behavior. She certainly had passion and energy for sure...and not too shabby to look at either.

Next up was the presentation of the ITA National Awards. All regional award winners were invited to come forward and collect their awards, followed by the announcement of the National winner. I had outlined all of our Regional winners in an earlier post, but I have some great news to report. Alex Grubin won the National Senior Player of the Year NCAA II! A deserved honor for sure. I am so proud of Alex and his plentiful contributions to our program and college tennis. In addition, yours truly was graciously awarded the National Assistant Coach of the Year NCAA II. It is still hard to believe for sure. I must say that it is nice to be recognized by my peers and I am very thankful. Also, many thanks to my players for making me look good, the athletic department for supporting me, Coach Neil for letting me do what it is that I do, and to my family who let me pursue my passion ahead of many other important functions.

A little further celebration in the form of a "coaches meeting" with Coaches Schwartz, Tasso, SoFresh, and Neil in the Hilton lounge was to follow. Good times and good friends. That is a strong part of my enjoyment of this whole coaching thing.

We plan to rise early tomorrow for breakfast and to watch the Clipper ladies play. Their match time is set for 8am so I better wrap it up here soon. Not only this, but I don't want to make any additional noise as Coach Pampulov and his lovely family with two young children are right next door.

Well, I hope we are ready for tomorrow. It is a little strange this year as we are the hunted and no longer the hunter. I hope we get the job done.

Nuff said...

Street Smarts...

It was nice to get back on the courts over at Sanlando today to prepare for our match tomorrow. The park is a very nice facility and one that lends itself well to the Championships. We were on the courts for about two hours and looked pretty sharp. We expect a great match tomorrow and are prepared to give our best. The truth of the matter is that once you win a round, you are a threat to win the title. I hope we are in the mix.

We left the park to get some eats and also a few things at CVS. Even though both stops are just around the corner from the hotel, Coach Neil seems to always have us running these errands for over and hour. I am not sure where the time goes, but it goes none the less. Plenty of handshakes I suppose. Neil just loves to make new friends and to be in the club.

Well that's all I have for now. It is another beautiful day in Orlando so it is time to hit the pool for some refreshment. Coaches meeting at 4:30pm and the banquet at 7pm.

Catch you later.

Nuff said...

Ear plugs...

Well good morning Clipper fans. I wish I could say it was a better morning for me. Of course, it is just my luck that the hotel room next to me has a screaming child. In any case, I am an early riser these days and as luck would have it, no significant snoring from good old Coach Tarangioli last night.

I wanted to get back with you all last night, but due to some old man fatigue, a full belly and a modest headache, I crashed out early. However, I must tell you that our practice was pretty darn good. The fellas seemed to have turned the switch on and have started to play the good tennis. This is somewhat of a nice surprise after eating at Five Guys for burgers just prior to hitting the courts. This is essentially phase three of our season. We had our spring break, our conference and now the Nationals. I certainly hope that the players are able to rise to the occasion and raise their levels to what we all expect and what we know we will need to get the job done versus any team we play down here.

After our practice in the heat of the day, we rested a bit and then turned our attention to the Olive Garden. A nice time was had by all. I am still not sure Shaolin knows exactly what he is ordering when we go out to eat. He always seems to have some trouble and is often surprised when his meal comes...funny stuff.

As for today, the Hilton gives us a complimentary breakfast so I will be sure to enjoy that. Moving forward, it is off to the courts for an 11am practice at the tournament site at Sanlando Park. I am sure we will see many other teams there and probably Coach Neil will be ready to have long conversations with any available Coach. The players just love that, especially when we are waiting at the van to head home.

Catch up with you all later. Really miss you all and wish you were here.

Nuff said...

Monday, May 10, 2010

We are here...

We made it to Orlando safe and sound. After a slight delay courtesy of the fine folks at Jet Blue, we landed and secured our rental van. A thirty minute ride to the Hilton (which I hope to receive mega Hilton Honors points for incidentally) and a little unpacking to do before we will change clothes and grab a bite to eat.

Off to the practice courts at 4pm, which will be our match time Wednesday. Gonna be a hot one out there.

Was nice to meet Coach Pampulov of Hawai'i Pacific this afternoon. The Clipper ladies play HP in the first round...

More to come later.

Nuff said...

Friday, May 07, 2010


In addition to your Clippers, also making the trip to the Sweet 16 are our friends from Kutztown representing the Atlantic Region and Queens College joining us as representatives of the East Region. Congratulations to both squads and best of luck going forward. I look forward to our first unsanctioned coaches meeting.

In other great news, the Concordia Women's team has also qualified for the Sweet 16. Coaches Kela and Kylene and the ladies will also be traveling to the Hilton in Altamonte Springs.

See you all soon.

Nuff said...

Off to Orlando...

The bus continues to travel. This time we are off to the National Final 16 held just outside of Orlando, FL in Altamonte Springs. Yes it's time to make the flight arrangements as we defeated Philadelphia University for the fourth time this season 5-0 in today's NCAA East #1 Regional Final (click here for box score).

Unlike our last meeting with the Rams when they came out sky high and full of energy and really pushed us back, we were more business today and got off to a solid start on all three doubles courts as we sailed to a 3-0 lead. The good start was key today as Philly seemed to lose their belief early on in the match. The team really poured it on in the singles matches as all courts were dominating for the Clippers. Tamas and Andreas closed out the day as both nailed down 6-0, 6-0 wins, or as my pal Pepe would say, two bicycles! However, that being said, big congrats to Coach Cha and the Rams on a great season. I know that good things are in store for Philly U. tennis in the future. We will do our best to represent our CACC in Florida. We hope you will follow and support us as we try to do something special next week.

Up next for the Clippers in the "Sweet 16" will be #29 ranked BYU Hawai'i, the #2 seed out of the West Region. In my opinion, BYU is under-rated and playing much better than their rank indicates. They are really a team that should be in the top 20 for sure. They have good experience on the team and I expect that they will be ready to play. We will certainly be ready as well.

We will take off Monday morning and get two days of practice in down south to get accustomed to the conditions. In addition, the players and coaches are treated to a special banquet by the NCAA Tuesday night just prior to the Wednesday competition. The ITA also presents its awards during the banquet and we hope to have a National winner or two perhaps.

A special thanks for all of the love and support throughout the season from so many of you. There are plenty of seats on the bus and this truly is a team effort.

2 down, 4 to go!

Nuff said...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

One Down...Five To Go...

Well that's one in the books. We defeated Adelphi University today 5-0 in a race to five in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA II Tennis Championships (click here for boxscore). Windy conditions phased us not as we were able to sweep the doubles allowing just four total games in the three pro-sets. Shorthly thereafter, Andreas and Raphael made quick work of their opponents to capture the victory. It should be noted that all Clippers were leading handily on all courts when the match was decided.

As a result, the Magical Mystery Tour aboard the Clipper Magic Bus continues tomorrow versus Philadelphia University. The Rams were able to dispatch of Merrimack in the other regional semifinal. We are quite familiar with Philadelphia as we have played and defeated them three times this season. Lets hope for the four-pack. Match time is set for 9am 5/7/10.

The winner of tomorrow's match will advance to Orlando, FL for the National Final 16.

Nuff said...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's Canner Time...

Well folks, it's that time. Yes indeed, it's time for the NCAA Tournament. We will travel to Queens College tomorrow for our round of 64 match versus Coach Canner's Adelphi University Panthers.

As the #1 seed in the bracket, we face off versus the Cannermen who sneaked in as the #8 seed squeaking by Chestnut Hill College in somewhat of a surprise to me. Match time is 2pm. In the event of rain, the match will be played indoors at our house in Bronxville, NY.

Adelphi played to a 9-7 record this season and fell 5-0 to Bentley University in the NE-10 semifinal. Of course we are familiar with the Panthers as we were both long time members of the ECC/NYCAC prior to this year's adjustments. Last season we coasted by AU 9-0 in a match in which we played shorthanded. With any good fortune, we will have a similar result tomorrow and advance to the regional final to play the winner of the #4 Merrimack vs. #5 Philadelphia contest. The winner of the regional final will advance to the National final 16 to be played in Orlando, FL. Last year we advanced to Orlando and lost in the National semi-final to Barry University.

I really hope the magic bus travels all the way to the National Championship next week.

Wish us well.

Nuff said.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

ITA Awards Announced 2010...

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association has announced their 2010 Awards for both NCAA II Men and Women (click here for complete list). This year your Concordia Clippers are well represented on both East Regional lists. The National awards will be announced May 11th at the banquet just prior to the National Final 16 in Orlando, FL. I hope both teams will be on hand to witness the event.

Alex Grubin - Senior Player of the Year
Andreas Lindell - Rookie Player of the Year
Daniel Rockhill - Assistant Coach of the Year

For the Women:

Senior Player of the Year - Cristina Oliveira
Assistant Coach of the Year - Kylene Murray

With any good luck, there may be a few Clippers honored with a National Award this year. In my humble opinion, it would be a travesty if Alex is not named the National Senior Player of the Year.
Congratulations to those recognized and best of luck in the NCAA Tournament.

Nuff said...