New tennis coach Geoff Young sits down for Q&A

Zach Eisendrath

On July 25, Athletics Director Joel Maturi hired Geoff Young to replace David Geatz as Minnesota’s men’s tennis coach.

After nearly two months on the job, Young sat down with the Daily.

What interested you most about this job opening?
It has great tradition here with men’s tennis. Coach Geatz, the previous coach, did a fantastic job of creating that tradition, as well as the coach before that, Jerry Noyce.

There is a fantastic booster club in the Baseline Club. The group of men who have been running that over the years have really fine-tuned it to a well-oiled machine. It is very impressive and it’s well-renowned throughout the country.

That provides a great support group to lean on to help me accomplish such aspects as marketing and funding for the program.

After six seasons at the University of Denver, why did you decide to leave?
There were no negatives at Denver. I had a great experience there. But there are many positives here that interested me in addition to the Baseline Club and the tradition.

Being in the Big Ten Conference provides a great pillar for me to schedule great matches that are built in. Almost a third to half my schedule is built in each year playing great teams.

(Minnesota) is also an easy place to recruit because it is a well-renowned academic institution as well. Minnesota is a great place. There are many positives that I’m sure I’m forgetting some still.

What kind of expectations did Athletic Director Joel Maturi lay out for you?
It was more of a question of our values lining up and our priorities.

My priorities, after being here a month and a half, line up very well with the department’s. Such as: strong character and recruiting good people here first, and good tennis players second. They have to be good people with integrity and desire to learn both on and off the court.

I want to win very much. However, I only want to win the right way.

Do you feel you are on the same page as the players?
I do – some more than others, but it’s going well.

I first need to establish a rapport with them and that is being done. Again, more quickly with some than others. But as a team I’d say it’s going fine.

My style is not to come in and be a complete dictator. I want to come in and establish a trust so they can build their games. But that takes time. It takes time for me to really get to know their game inside and out and get to the point where I feel 100 percent confident in what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

Do you face any problems relating with the players because David Geatz recruited them all and is the father of your No. 1 singles player, D.J. Geatz?
I have a tremendous amount of respect for (coach Geatz), and he did a fantastic job here.

The guys on the team learned much from him, I’m sure, and hopefully they can learn some different things from me and also some of the same things from me in a different light. I look to add to what was already, I’m sure, a healthy running program.

How have the first couple of weeks of practice been?
It’s been fun for me, seeing what kind of talent I have on the team and the strengths and weaknesses, both physically and emotionally, of all the guys.

They are great guys; they’ve been very accepting and easy to work with so far. However, there are some things I’d like to help them get better with. Some items can get better very quickly; others will take longer over the course of the year, and be an ongoing project. But that’s really the case with any team.

My most enjoyable part of the day so far is at practice.

Do you have a certain philosophy in regard to how you train your players?
My philosophy is to take each player’s strengths and weaknesses and develop their game accordingly so their strengths are maximized and their weaknesses are minimized.

How has the college game changed since you played at Northwestern, specifically in regard to recruiting international players?
When I played I don’t think there were as many international players but there are many now.

Tennis is a very global sport. The U.S. is strong in tennis, but there are players on almost every continent playing college tennis. It makes sense. This is an easy sell. Playing college tennis when a scholarship is involved, you get to play tennis full-time, develop your game, and get a degree at the same time. It’s an easy sell for these players overseas.

Where do you see this team in comparison to the Big Ten and the rest of the country?
We have enough to worry about in just trying to make ourselves better, to compete hard and come together as a team with strong team chemistry.

Our focus will be on trying to really get better and have a great spirit about ourselves and our own identity during the matches. The wins and losses will take care of themselves in a positive light if we are able to accomplish this team spirit I’m talking about.

I like to have goals that we’re able to control such as our attitude, our courage and the way we compete. I know there is enough talent on this team to put us in a position to win the Big Ten. Whether that will happen remains to be seen. We need to focus on the things that are within our control that we know and believe will put us in that position.