Now in her 18th season as the head coach of the highly successful Northwestern women's tennis team, Claire Pollard has led a program that has reached a level of success achieved by few other Big Ten universities in any sport. Pollard's squads won either a Big Ten regular season and/or tournament title in each of her first 16 seasons at the helm. NUsports.com sat down with Coach Pollard for this week's edition of Coaches Corner.
NUSports.com: What's the most important part of establishing a culture of a program?
Claire Pollard: I think that it's important to show the players that you've always got their back and you're willing to do anything for them.
How would your players describe you?
I think that they would say that I'm full of tough love. I'm someone who's demanding of them but at the same time loyal to them.
What do you see as the persona of this year's team?
I think that they're a group that understands the difficulty that we went through last season and appreciates the opportunity that they have for this year's moment.
What characteristics do you look for in a recruit?
I'm always looking for someone who wants to get better and experience the unique challenge that Northwestern offers of combining both athletics and academics at the highest standard.
What has allowed the program to be as successful as it has for such an extended period of time?
We've been fortunate to have some great players come through the program who have embraced coaching and were driven to reach their highest potential. We've also benefited from a commitment from the administration to provide us with the support that we need.
What's the most gratifying part of your job?
I think the relationships that you sustain over the years. It's always great to see the hard work of a player pay off and seeing a young lady reach a height that she never thought that she was capable of.
For more coverage of Northwestern women's tennis, go to NUSports.com.