Father-son duo to NCAA Championships

David Geatz’s coaching career at Minnesota will end coaching his son.

Robert Mews

Closing out a coaching career with an NCAA championship would be near the top of Minnesota’s men’s tennis coach David Geatz’s career objectives.

But coaching his son D.J. to a singles championship this week in Stanford, Calif., would certainly top that list.

And while the chance to coach the Gophers to a national championship as a team has passed him by because of his resignation, coaching his son to one has not.

“It would be great,” David said. “But I don’t want to put any pressure on him.”

Pressure is something that the younger Geatz – the 59th ranked player in the country – might not have to worry about because he came to this point with some luck.

D.J. was propelled into the tournament when another player dropped out with an injury.

“Now I’m just playing for fun and I’ll just go out to the NCAAs loose,” D.J. said. “(I’ll) just try and do as well as I can and look forward to next year.”

That’s not to say neither father nor son wants to win together before the coach-player relationship ends.

“I play extra hard for him,” D.J. said. “It’s going to be a special time for us.”

His father has confidence in his game, too.

“He’s not going to give up and he’s tough to beat,” David said. “So you never know what will happen at the NCAA Tournament.”

However, a coach-player relationship that also is a father-son relationship can have its difficulties.

“Sometimes it’s great being D.J.’s coach,” David said. “Sometimes it’s the absolute worst.”

D.J. agreed with his father’s thoughts.

“It’s got its ups and downs, but for the most part, it’s a good experience,” D.J. said. “He’s a great coach. I love having him around.”

Even with the ups and downs, David said when he has to step aside he will be “deeply saddened” that he can’t coach his son and the Gophers anymore.

And while David is leaving the program as head coach, he said he will always be D.J.’s coach.

“He’s my son. I’ve always coached him,” David said. “I don’t think it’s fair to say it will be the last time I’ll ever coach him.”

He added that if he is in Minneapolis come next season that he’ll cheer for his son and the entire Minnesota squad.

He also said that although D.J. made the singles tournament this season, he thinks next season will be the year D.J. surpasses all his goals.

“Realistically, I’d say D.J. is maybe a year away,” David said. “He gets better every year. He’s not close to being as good as he’s going to be.”

There is a chance that current assistant coach Adam Cohen could be the one coaching D.J. and the rest of the Gophers next season.

Cohen said he has applied for the current position.

Cohen has seen the growth of D.J. over the past three years as well – two season playing, one he redshirted because of a broken leg. That might be something that benefits D.J. next season.

“D.J. is one of the toughest competitors we got,” Cohen said. “And he’ll certainly put it on the line come Wednesday.”

As for David, he doesn’t know what he’ll do next season. He said he’s still debating some options.

However, he said he’ll be happy that he and D.J. can move on.

“I’m happy that he’s going to get a chance to play for someone else,” David said.

D.J said his father told him it was time for a change and that it was best for now, but added, “It’s going to be hard. But I’m hoping that he’s going to stay around so he can still coach me.”

This week when father and son remain coach and player, David will be happy if D.J. just gives it his all.

“I’d be happy if D.J. just comes out and just puts his best effort out,” David said.