After a successful season in which the men's double team of Stephen Sullivan '11 and Oscar Pena '12 won the D-III title, the men's tennis team is bringing into its ranks a new coach.
The athletic department hired Conor Smith this summer following the departure of Colin Joyner '03, who left Bowdoin to pursue an MBA. Joyner left behind a six-season legacy consisting of 73 victories and the team's first NESCAC championship, which it won in 2008.
Smith hails from Bridgewater College in Virginia, where he headed both the men's and women's tennis teams.
He was twice named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference men's tennis coach of the year, and in 2009 he led the men's team in their most successful season in 30 years.
Director of Athletics Jeff Ward said he is excited to have Smith on the staff.
"Through his interview and references, it was very clear that he is an intelligent, thoughtful person with a passion for tennis," he said. "Everything that I saw in the search process has been reaffirmed in his short time on campus."
Smith said he is looking forward to the new opportunity that working with Bowdoin teams presents.
"What is so appealing to me is being at an institution and an athletics department like Bowdoin, and having a team that can go out and compete with any team in the nation," said Smith.
At the helm of the men's team, Smith said he will be pushing players hard. He describes his coaching style as hustle-oriented, drawing on his own background as a successful college player.
"I wasn't the most talented or athletic or best shot-maker out there," he said. "But I was able to have success as a player, and I like my teams [to] have that ethic of going out and busting your tail and out-working all the other teams."
Smith also cites his own college coach as a major inspiration.
"I'd be lying if I didn't say that much of who and what I am as a coach has come from him, how he went about his daily business, and how he trained us to think as well," he said.
Having met with the team for about a week now, Smith said that he is pleased with the athletes' passion and energy.
"I'm very impressed with all the guys, their commitment and dedication to the sport, as well as the overall enthusiasm they have," he said.
So far the players have equal respect and admiration for their coach. Sam King '14 had nothing but the highest of accolades for Smith.
"I'm really excited to work with Coach Smith," said King. "He brings a lot of energy and passion to the team, and is clearly thrilled to help us become the best we can be."
"I think everyone appreciates [his] level of investment and dedication to the program, which will motivate us and serve us well this year and into the future," continued King.
According to Smith, it is far too early to make any predictions for the season. Right now, his focus is on getting to know the team instead of worrying about the rest of the conference.
He has set up times to individually hit with each of the players to assess their playing styles and abilities.
Elsewhere in the Athletic Department, KJ Krasco is joining the coaching staff as assistant women's basketball coach, Joe White has joined as assistant football coach, and Jaime Dumont is returning to the men's hockey team as the assistant coach after a six-year hiatus in which he coached in Italy.