ITA On-Serve With Charlotte Women's Tennis Assistant Coach Caroline Price
By Dan Johnson
Sometimes, the career you never envisioned for yourself winds up being a perfect fit.
Caroline Price will be the first to tell people that as a college tennis player at the University of North Carolina, coaching was not on her mind. The two-time All-American was a communications major with a media production focus and was gearing up for applying for media-based internships, when a phone call from dad changed everything.
Price’s father just so happens to be former NBA All-Star and current Charlotte men’s basketball head coach, Mark Price. He reached out to his daughter to encourage her to move back home and help the 49ers tennis program after a volunteer coaching position came open.
Caroline listed to her dad’s suggestion and now just two short years later, she can’t imagine doing anything different.
“I fell in love with coaching,” said Price, who was elevated to full-time assistant coach of the women’s tennis team in July 2016.
An excellent write-up on the Charlotte 49ers website details Price’s path from player to coach, and how her 11-week USTA coaching fellowship (more on that in a minute) provided her with the tools necessary to take her coaching career to the next level.
Question: How has your father helped you in your foray into coaching?
Answer: I’m so lucky; I have the best mentor of them all in my father. I look up to him so much. I’ve been able to pick his brain on developing a culture and the player-coach relationship. I have dinner with my dad almost every night and we’re always talking about sports.
Q: One of the interesting things to develop from your time in the USTA Fellowship Program in Professional Coaching was that you spent time working with two-time NCAA Champion, and Virginia Cavalier, Danielle Collins. What was that experience like coaching someone that played at a rival ACC institution?
A: I grew up with Danielle, she’s a year younger than me. We liked each other, but I wouldn’t say that we were friends, but had a mutual respect. For part of the fellowship, I wound up working with the USTA national college team in Kentucky with Kelcy (McKenna, University of Wisconsin women’s tennis head coach), and worked with Danielle and (Francesca) Di Lorenzo. Danielle and I got along really well and she was looking to have someone travel with her that summer, so Stephen (Amritraj, USTA Director of College Tennis), Danielle and I all talked and I started traveling with her.
Stephen would give me guidance and I’d take that and give it to Danielle and be there for her during her matches. I saw her get her first Top 100 win. She was so supportive of me and we stay in touch. For me, when I started the fellowship, I wasn’t confident as a coach and she was a big part of me gaining that confidence. She won NCAA’s twice, and for her to listen to me and appreciate my input, for me developing into a coach, that was big.
Q: You also had a chance to attend the first women’s symposium, which featured the likes of such greats as Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Pam Shriver. The symposium discussed ways to increase women’s involvement in tennis coaching. Any suggestions?
A: I think it’d be huge to reach out to senior college tennis players and invite them to the symposium, because they may be like me, and not know that coaching is something they want to do. After being a part of (the symposium), you are empowered as a female coach in a male-dominated sport. I believe more women could get involved, but they need to be exposed to it.
USTA Player Development (USTAPD) recently announced that applications for the 2017 USTA Player Development Fellowship In Professional Coaching will be accepted through March 17.
The stipend-based program is for 10-12 weeks (June-September). For more details, check out this document, and to apply, click here.