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July 24, 2006 - Image 14

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2006-07-24

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 24, 2006

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SP

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Next stop for new coach: Michigan tennis

By Kevin Wallace
For the Daily
Sean Maymi typifies the saying "moving up
the totem pole."
Beginning in 2001, Maymi served as an assis-
tant coach for the University of North Florida
men's tennis team, then went on to coach on the
Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour
and'finally had stints at both Northwestern Uni-
versity and Fresno State University. But Maymi
climbed even higher last Wednesday when he
was announced as the Michigan men's tennis
assistant coach.
"What intrigued me about Michigan was
not only (its) rich athletic history as a school,
but also the fact that I know (former Michigan
football and baseball standout) Rick Leach, so I
have some connections," Maymi said.
In the coaching hierarchy, there are two paths
to success. The first requires spending time at a
small school and working your way up within
that program until you can make the jump to
larger programs.
The other path, the one taken by Maymi, still
involves moving from smaller to bigger, but
.instead of working toward becoming the head
coach in one program and then making the
jump, Maymi has jumped around as an assis-
tant, gradually working his way up to bigger
programs.
When he has finally reached what he thinks is
the upper-echelon of tennis programs, he'll try
to settle in and make a legacy there.
Thetquestion for Maymi and the Wolverines
is whether he is finally satisfied and plans on
making a long-lasting impact here at Michigan,
or whether this is another stop on his ascent to
the top of college tennis.
"I followed Bruce's (head coach Bruce Ber-
que) philosophy that it is important to get your
feet wet in a big-time program first, because
many resources are available, (that give) you a
better chance to succeed," Maymi said. "With the
direction this Michigan team is headed, being in
the mid-30s nationally last year and making the
NCAA tournament, I see a bright future - one
I want to be a part of for a while."
If Maymi finally settles in Ann Arbor, it's
essential for him to bring something to the table
to help the Wolverines reach the next level.
_ Maymi was a strength and conditioning lead-
er for Michael Russell of the ATP. According to
the new coach, his philosophy is fitness-orient-

q
41

Michigan coach Bruce Berque (center) recently named Sean Maymi the new assistant coach for the men's tennis team.

ed, because the game revolves around fitness.
By stressing that aspect of the game, Maymi
hopes to get the athletes in better shape and
improve their overall game.
But even more important than keeping his
players in shape physically might be the way
that Maymi keeps his players fit mentally.
"I pride myself on my work ethic," Maymi
said. "If there is one thing I want to leave with
players or coaches I used to work with, it's that
a sound work ethic is the most important thing
to have in order to succeed."
Berque and Maymi have not yet set out spe-
cific plans as to how they will split up coaching
duties, but things look promising for the men's
tennis team. Year after year, Michigan has
placed well in the Big Ten, continually raising

expectations for the next season.
But the Wolverines still have some work to
do if they want to gain national notoriety as a
tennis powerhouse - chiefly to compete with
Illinois and Ohio State, the two best teams in
the Big Ten. Maymi thinks Michigan is well on
its way under Berque.
"The first step this program needed to take
occurred when they hired Bruce a few years
ago," Maymi said. "Michigan has already taken
the next step by making the national tourna-
tnent. If we continue to reach the NCAA tour-
nament, then we start to get better recruits and
it just becomes a cycle."
The Wolverines return their entire squad next
season. The youthful squad has shown noticable
improvement each year under Berque, who took

over for former coach Mark Mees following his
resignation after the 2003-2004 season.
The team has had winning records both years
since Berque's arrival, finishing on the top half
of the standings in Big Ten play.
Though Michigan's 6-4 finish in conference
last season was one game worse than the 7-
3 mark it had the year before, the Wolverines
qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The strong
non-conference schedule Berque put together is
believed to be one of the reasons for this bid.
Maymi replaces former assistant coach
Michael Kosta, who stepped down at the end of
this past season.
Kosta, an Ann Arbor native, joined the pro-
gram with Berque, who formerly coached him
at Illinois.

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