By Michael Schwartz
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 6, 2004
The UA women's tennis team gained championship experience this week with the hiring of assistant coach Brian Ramirez.
Ramirez, hired Monday by Arizona, spent the last two years serving as the volunteer assistant for Stanford. The Cardinal won last season's National Championship as well as consecutive Pac-10 Championships.
"He's probably the best assistant coach we've ever had, or at least I've had and it's my third one in four years," head coach Vicky Maes said. "I'm very excited to work with him knowing the experience he's had being one of the key factors in the Stanford program and knowing what a great tradition that program has in winning.
"He brings a fresh perspective also coming from the angle of a champion. He knows what it takes to win a championship and ultimately that's something we would like to do, so any kind of knowledge and experience he can bring to our program would be helpful."
Maes said Ramirez stood out over other candidates due to his Stanford coaching experience.
"He was very, very eager to get the job, he wanted to stay in the Pac-10 and he's familiar with Arizona. To me it was pretty easy," Maes said. "Obviously, when you look at Stanford and look at Arizona you see a bunch of differences, but when it comes to women's tennis there should be a lot of similarities as far as how you run a program. I think Joe is going to be very helpful for us."
Senior Dianne Hollands, the seventh-ranked singles player in the country, said it will be useful to have a coach who worked with her top competition.
"I think that we can learn exactly from him the way they practice, the way they carry themselves on the court, everything that Stanford has he brings that to our program," she said. "We can do the same."
Before transferring to UNC-Greensboro, he was a two-time All-Conference player at Foothill Junior College. He led the school to a semifinal appearance in the state championships in 1991 and a state runner-up finish in 1992.
Maes said Ramirez's main focus will be in player development, but that he'll be "very much involved" with travel and recruiting as he is very familiar with Pac-10 recruiting.
"I'm really, really looking forward to working with him," Hollands said. "We did a doubles drill when he came and (doubles partner) Maya (Mlakar) and I really enjoyed it so we're looking forward to his guidance and the knowledge that he brings to the game. He knows a lot and I think it can only benefit us so it's going to be good."