Published on September 21st, 2011 | by Mace & Crown Administrator0
Goodbye Atlanta, Hello Norfolk
You could say he was born for this job. This past week, the Mace and Crown was able to sit down with Alijosa Piric, the recently hired Old Dominion Men’s Tennis head coach, who has spent his life learning, playing, and now coaching the game of tennis. Piric began playing tennis at a young age. “I started playing tennis when I was six years old, have been playing ever since, and I love it”, said Piric.
Born in Bosnia, Piric competed in many European junior tournaments, including the European Team Championships. A move to America had Piric playing at Mills Godwin High School in Richmond, Virginia where he excelled greatly on the court; eventually winning a Virginia High School State Championship in both singles and doubles tennis.
After graduating Piric attended the University of Richmond where he played at No.1 in singles and doubles and rose to the position of team captain. When Piric saw that the coaching job at Old Dominion was vacant he said that his “eyes light up at the opportunity to return home.”
A former Georgia Tech assistant coach, Piric felt that making a move from assistant to head coach, from Tech to Old Dominion, was,” a great opportunity to come in and build this program to a nationally dominant, powerhouse team,” adding that, “Old Dominion offers all the necessary components to do so.” Piric also said that his time at Tech greatly helped his transition into a head coaching job.
“I was fortunate enough to work with a coach at Tech who so made me part of the coaching process that I felt like the move from being an assistant to being a coach was much easier than it could have been, I came in here doing what I had always done.”
When it comes to actually coaching his players, Piric tries to focus on each player’s individual talents. “Each player has a different personality and not everybody can be treated the same. There are no two athletes alike and each player needs to be treated differently. As a coaching staff we identify how to coach each individual player in order to maximize his potential.”
Piric likes to tell his players to look up to tennis greats such as Rafael Nadal. When asked why Nadal, Piric replied, “I love the way he plays the game. His heart, mental tenacity, attitude and fighting spirit are things that all athletes, not just tennis players, should look up to and learn from.”
Despite the fact that it is his first year as a head coach, Piric is not shy about the goals he has set for himself and his program this year.
“The great thing about being an athlete and a coach is that each day is spent trying to get better; you build yourself each and every day and see where the chips may fall. But in a more tangible sense, our goal is to become CAA champions and it is one I believe our guys can achieve.”
It is without doubt that Alijosa Piric is a perfect fit in the Monarch family. His will to succeed and demanding the best from his team are traits that will most certainly lead the tennis team to victory. Look forward to a season filled with success from our men’s tennis Monarchs.