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Auburn Men’s Tennis vs. Notre Dame Men’s Tennis | Coach JP Weber

Auburn Men’s Tennis vs. Notre Dame Men’s Tennis

Ok, here we have two different programs, in two different conferences and two different roads the coaches have chosen with filling their rosters. The Head Coach at Auburn is Eric Shore and he is a good coach and good guy, but look at the roster–all the players except one are foreign. Now let’s take a look at the University of Notre Dame Men’s team coached by Bobby Bayliss (another good guy and good coach) and you see a striking contrast in that their roster has all Americans except for one foreigner.





So we have a road and a path that splits and one coach chose to go foreign and the other chose to go American. Nobody in Auburn, AL. followed any of these foreign kids growing up and how good they were going to be so if there are any inroads made within the community it is done after they come to school.

At Notre Dame there are going to be players on that team that many in the community or surrounding community have seen growing up on the courts around the mid-west in tournaments or living in that area. Further than that to me, Bayliss has to put himself on the line more than Eric does in terms of what progress he makes with his players in terms of their development. If people in the USA know of these players and see these players they are going to want to know how they progress at Notre Dame for future generations of junior tennis players to see. This is added pressure for the coach at Notre Dame–he still has to make momma and pappa happy.

For me the American route is the more sporting challenge.


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  1. Jason Haynes


    Come on now you and I both know there are not any Americans out there that are good enough to play lines 3,4,5 or 6. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

    • We have players here in the USA, no doubt. But the perception is we do not have the players. Look at Patrick McEnroe and a slew of others who feel we need to dump our entire way of coaching. I think we have plenty of players and that is why it would not bother me one bit if somebody chose to go foreign. Scrappy Scarpa beat a lot of them at Furman through the years but he worked at it. So it can be done with American players but I feel we should not mandate it but reward the players and pressure the coaches around the country to do it with Americans.

  2. Josh Moore


    While as a citizen I would like more scholarships to go to American players, as a college coach(at a small school) I realize the reality of the situation certain schools face when it comes to recruiting top american players. While I do recruit good americans(and will continue to do so, regardless of the number of them we actually get), the reality of the situation is even if the big school has a coach that is horrible at develping players and I were to be the best coach in the world, most americans are going to choose major schools over smaller ones. That being said, if a major part of my job is to produce a winning team, and I can get a better international player(who is also a good person and student) than I can American, I need to take the international player.

    The reality of the situation between those to schools, is that if you take away players living within a couple of hours of Auburn, and the ones with some kind of previous connection to Auburn, and you ask the remaining players across the country where they would rather go, the vast, vast majority are going to choose ND.

    If you take a step back and look at this objectively, you will see plenty of ups and downs for each of the programs mentioned. Do you realize how much tougher it is to build community support for a team that is all foriegn, without any regional players? Now I don’t know either of these coaches you mentioned personally, and we all have our own personal opinions on how things should be; however to say that Bayliss is taking the higher road/bigger challenge and imply that Shore(and any other coach that brings in primarily foreign players) takes the lower road/easier challenge is wrong on both a personal and logical level.

    • Thanks for posting Josh. I hope you are not saying that Notre Dame is the larger school in comparison to Auburn. Second, Auburn being only two hours from the Atlanta area where just dozens of great players live don’t you think it is a little bit of a surprise not to see anyone from that area on the team? For my memory I have not seen one from this area in a while there. Eric makes a decision to recruit foreign players. It is his decision and that is his choice but he does not get to place himself in a class with those coaches who are rare but have built themselves reputations as developers of talent.

      I just had the former coach from NC State on my show J.W. Isenhour. He made a decision back in the day to recruit Americans and they were mostly Americans from North Carolina. From that group he had amazing results with Dillon, Andrews and of course, John Sadri. John Sadri came into his program not ranked very high as a junior and he turned him into a player. Auburn sits two hours west of Atlanta and two hours east of Atlanta is an almost identical school named Clemson University. While Coach Kriese was there over 30 years he amassed a whopping total of 11 foreign players at his school. From the beginning he made the decision this was the way he was going to go about doing the job. He built his recruiting connections all across the USA especially in the Southeast. This is where he spent his time. Eric has spent his time in other places recruiting besides the USA. If he spent his time here he would likely have a similar story to tell as that of Kriese or Scarpa. That is it pure, plain and simple. One road gets my respect and the other does not get the same level of respect.

      I think I have a legitimate point when I say one road is better for the USA and I think it is not going to garner quick results. I think the road of going foreign gets winning results quicker than spending a lifetime as a coach building a reputation on developing American juniors.

      I do not believe you can have it both ways. And here is the thing—you say they are required to have a winning program. Ok, then win. The thing is and offense is meant toward Eric but it is not like he is tearing up the SEC with the foreign players. I watched a match between Georgia Tech and Miami last year at Tech and when the singles went out on the court 11 foreign players took the court during that dual match. Neither team finished in the top 50 if I am not mistaken. 11 foreigners out of 12 players on the court and not even in the top 20 in the country. Why? To what end?

      Look, realize too I am not in favor of a mandate to limit the foreign players on a team. But there are a lot of people who are. I would not want to coach with as many stupid mandates as there are now and if somebody wants to go foreign let them go foreign. It should be their choice. But I repeat, don’t come and tell me how great they are a developing talent cause I do not see it happening and neither does the American population.

    • Josh, It is also good to see you have at least two Americans on your team. That is a start in my humble opinion.

  3. Josh Moore

    I was referencing more of the size of the name/brand of the university.

    Where one gets the players from doesn’t determine how good of a coach they are. If one wants to make a statement/judgement on the ability of a coach based on how they have recruited or developed players, based on their record, compared with that of programs in other similar situations, than that is fair enough. However, where they got that player is in no way relevant to their ability to develop a player, and that is what you appeared to be saying. Also, most every tennis coach in the country would rather recruit to ND than to Auburn.

    Yes, Atlanta and the southern section have a lot of great players; but we have to look at who he is recruiting against for those players. If you are to say he isn’t as good of a developmental coach because the players he is bringing in are are the same level as ND’s but he is getting worse results, than fair enough, or just plain and simple from watching him or looking at results you don’t the ND coach is better that is fine, but to infer that where the player comes from has anything to do with it doesn’t hold water.

    There is also a fundamental difference between saying one road is a better challenge or means someoen is a better coach, and saying it is better for american tennis. I myself would like to see foreign players very slowly limited over time(10-20 years), to where the men had between 2-3 scholarships and the women 4-5, for internationals. I would love to see the number of americans in college tennis rise, but where someone gets their players has no bearing on how good of a coach they are.

    If you are going judge coaches based on their national record or conference record, so be it. That is a big part of why many coaches do or do not keep their jobs. Nothing wrong with that. Though it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind, that some schools dont have as much resources as others with which to recruit the top americans. Auburn will always be at a disadvantage to to UGA, ND, Southern Cal, UTexas, and others, in that regard.

    I have no idea what kind of coaches either of these two people are. The point I was trying to make, is that where their players came from isn’t what tells us what kind of coach they are.

    As I just took the job here at SEMO, this fall, I can’t get the credit for putting two Americans on the roster. 🙂

    The last school I coached at, was a new DII program. The American players that would have made us competitive in our conference, had no interest in going to a new DII program, so I had to go with all internationals as far as scholarships went(two local walkons playing at the bottom of the lineup). All things being equal I will go with the American; however, if there is a big talent difference, and the girl seems to be of good character, I am taking the international. Whether it is better for American tennis or not, is another discussion-where my players come from says nothing about my ability(or lack there of) to develop players.

    • I really think it matters in a large majority of instances where the players come from and whether or not the coach has the ability to develop players or if that is even his/her goal to try and develop players. Does this hold true 100% of the time? No, but I would say it does in a large percentage from my personal bias and viewpoint.

      I think you have to make a decision what road you want to travel down. I think you have to decide what success means. Often that is determined not just by the coach but his bosses at the school. Once that is decided then get on with it. Put your money where your mouth is.

      At some point where the rubber meets the road you have to decide to make a choice and go with the foreign players or the American players. I do not understand the idea that you had to go with the foreign players if you do not want to do that.

      If your Athletic Director wants you to win at all costs then that is part of the choice you have made when you took the job there.

      Again, I think there are plenty of coaches with great records and they have done it one way or the other. I like the American road and think it is the right way to go.

    • I will give you an example of a guy who I personally like but I would not do it his way. Billy Chadwick is the Head Coach at Ol’ Miss. His team is all foreign and I think he is one heck of a coach and I can tell you I have watched him through the years coaching at Ol’ Miss. But in the end I tend to respect the effort a Kriese has made or a Scarpa has made or a Bayliss has made more than what he has accomplished with the guys from overseas. That is just me. I think it is tougher to do it here in the USA with USA players and I would jump in “whole hog” and try to do it that way.

  4. one other aspect of recruiting American players over international ones is the support the team will get from the surrounding community. local players on the team will likely have friends and family in the area who will come and watch the matches (and bring their friends to watch, too). international players rarely bring that fan base with them.

    • Lisa, I agree with you but the timeline for that in the coach’s eye is not quick enough for him to save his job. You have to pick the right school to coach at and work for the right administrator like the one at Syracuse University who will back up Luke Jensen’s way. If you do not have the backing of the administrator then you will not have the backbone to go forward down the American road.

  5. Zwelo Khupe

    Xenophobia i sense here coach Webber?
    Foreign players in college tennis are not the reason why USA dos not have a player that can challenge for a grandslam. I happen to think that John Isner has a chance.. At least he has the tools to do it. If Andy Murray could so can John.

    at a college campus, foreign students are a bonus culturally and otherwise. Eduaction is enhanced but diversity. I do think though that a college team with one American player and the rest foreigners is NOT right either. I think that college coaches are forced to recruit all over the world to produce the results that would help them keep their jobs. Tennis players come from middle class families where a quality education is emphasized more. So, it’s easier for Notre Dame, Stanford, Georgia etc. Auburn is not classified as an “academic school” by any means. No offense, they accept everyone. so a coach at Auburn has no chance at recruting most american top players that can compete with Notre Dame, Stanford, Duke etc

    • I do not have a dislike of strange or foreign people Zwelo. I like you. 🙂 I just think it is a sporting choice for me personally and I want to see kids I know grow up and play against the best in other parts of the world. You also know I have a particular person who works with me at the park who I believe is one of the best in the world and he showed up here from Zimbabwe. He and I work well together. In my case I want people to be able to have the freedom to decide and I also want to change my mind and do it another way if I want to do that. I do not want to have anyone else tell me who I can or cannot choose to coach. I want the freedom to recruit who I want to recruit. When these guys who want to put a mandate in place get done with the foreign player aspect the next thing they will want to do is prescribe what state or section of the USA I can recruit from and I do not like that prospect.

  6. Thank you so much for your stand. I have painfully watched the slow dismantling of our sport year by year since the rule changes of the early 90s. In ’82 we had 42 US players in top 100 and 39 were US college trained. Now, we have only 6 in top 100, and only John Isner went to college. The consequent response to the early 90s NCAA cutbacks was for coaches to predominantly recruit foreign players and take an approach that enabled their teams to win quickly. I believe with all of my heart that this was a knee-jerk to the extra pressure placed on coaches by insufficient time to train their teams. The training regulations put on colleges in the early 90’s were not for the good of our sport in any shape or size. The movement was nation-wide as coaches had to respond to their opponents quick advantages.
    I, and every coach that I know, respect and enjoy the many contributions made by internationl players; However, there is much more accountability when you recruit our local and USA kids. This is part of the hidden reason why coaches have gone in the direction they have with recruiting. Truth be told, most the foreign players recruited by the smaller-schools, which are usually other country’s non-top ranked kids, are not better than our non-top ranked kids. We need to get these USA kids back in the picture. It is not our top 40 players that are being passed over for spots on our college teams.
    There is great overall respect for those that have stuck with the recruitment of Americans first. The fall-out from non-american recruitment is now at a crisis point. We have to get something done and quite soon. In every other country of the world there is a two-player foreign limitation in all sports, and there is also the same limit in our US Junior Colleges; There is an absolute precident already made. There is great consent to moving in this direction. This is the time. Thanks again for your love of America and American Tennis. Ckriese November 11, 2012

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