College Showcase Day
November 20, 2018
The College Showcase Day provides high school sophomores, juniors and seniors with the opportunity to meet and connect with college tennis coaches, collect information, listen to experts and learn about the NCAA process.
When Lindsay Baum first signed up for USTA Eastern’s College Showcase Day at Saw Mill Tennis Club as a high school junior, she felt a little uneasy.
“I was nervous,” she says now. “All these coaches were going to be there, and I didn’t know what to expect.”
If she only knew then how well it would turn out. At the event, Baum got the chance to speak with Greg Coache, the head coach of Southern New Hampshire University women’s tennis team. Coache laid out how he ran his program, explaining to Baum that his athletes would always have someone they could trust at SNHU and that he would always treat them like family. ADVERTISEMENT These words particularly resonated with Baum, who would have to travel and live a fair distance from home should she decide to go there.
“And that’s really how my story started,” Baum says.
Indeed, the next five years of Baum’s life can be traced back to that interaction with Coache. After that personalized conversation, Baum ultimately chose to attend SNHU, receiving a full ride. She played for their tennis team all four years of college and today has a career in the sport, teaching tennis at Saw Mill as an instructor.
Experiences like Baum’s are a hallmark of USTA Eastern College Showcase Day, which was just held for the 32nd time on November 4. This year, in addition to facilitating player-coach interactions, organizers brought in college selection experts Scott Treibly and Mark Blaweiss to speak to attendees about the rigors of the recruitment process, as well as Mt. Sinai’s Dr. James Gladstone, who answered questions on how to protect and fuel your body.
Brandon Torres, a high school junior, found attending the event well worth it.
“[From attending CSD], I’ve learned that talking to college coaches isn’t that difficult, and that it’s just easier to be yourself,” he says. “I also found the presentation regarding the college recruitment to be helpful. It helped alleviate some of the stress that my family and I have pertaining to how long it might take.”
But College Showcase Day isn’t just beneficial for the students. College coaches get just as much out of it. Jason Pasion, head coach of men’s and women’s tennis at Hofstra University, finds the event to be a great opportunity to get the word out about his own program. He also is able to connect with players who have not played enough USTA tournaments or whose ranking may not indicate their true potential.
“Throughout the years of attending multiple CSD, I have come across numerous players who were diamonds in the ruff," he says.
This year, Pasion spoke on a coaching panel about the recruitment process for students and parents, which he really enjoyed. He feels that these types of additions have really elevated the value of CSD for everyone involved.
“I grew up playing tennis in the Eastern section, and I actually attended a CSD my senior year when it was held at the site of the US Open in Flushing Meadows,” he says. “Back then, it was merely playing out points while college coaches watched and took notes on players. Now players and parents can sit in on these presentations explaining the college process and have the opportunity to ask questions. I feel that coaches are more educated than ever now and are giving very good advice.”
In a full-circle moment, Baum actually worked the 2018 USTA Eastern College Showcase Day as a Sawmill employee.
“I thought that was so cool,” she says. “I got to tell the girls there, ‘Hey, I got to go to a college from this showcase. I did this. Just play your game, be happy.’ I got to see them relax and realize, ‘Oh this could be a good showcase for me. I could really get something out of this.”
Click here to see a list of colleges and universities that participated last year.