Middle States

Middle States Teaching Pro of the Year

Devin Rubino

Devin Rubino: Teaching Future Stars


Devin Rubino: Teaching Future Stars

As a kid, Devin Rubino's world was a tennis court. 


She grew up with the game, beginning to play in her parent’s driveway when she was 6 years old. Her weekends were filled with junior tournaments, high school practice and preparing for college play. Then, one day when she was 16, she was asked if she would like to start coaching. 


That question changed her life.


The opportunity to coach led her down a path  that eventually evolved into her career. This winter, she was named the 2019 Middle States Teaching Professional of the Year. 


“I cried when I found out,”  Rubino said with a laugh. “I work really hard and I just do it because I love it so much. I never do it for any recognition, but it is nice that someone else noticed the hard work enough to nominate me.”


Since she began coaching, Rubino has been all over the tennis spectrum – from non-profits and NJTLs to country clubs and private facilities. ADVERTISEMENT Eventually, she found herself  at Mercer County Park, where she coaches today. 


“I love working with the kids who come to Mercer County,” Rubino said. “You see such a variety of age and skill level, so it’s a challenge for me. I love taking a player who might not have natural athleticism and finding their strengths and capitalizing on them. That aspect of coaching is such a fun challenge for me.”


For Rubino, one of the most important aspects of coaching is that her students get what’s best for their situations and their games.


“Often times, I’ll send my students to other coaches that I know might be a good fit for them,” she said. “I want the best for these kids. It’s not about me coaching the best kids or getting any recognition.”


When it comes to a coaching philosophy, she keeps an open mind. Her players, though, report one thing: Rubino keeps tennis fun. 


“I love to learn from others,” she said. “There are so many great teaching professionals out there, and I look up to all of them. I’ll go to their practices and take notes about how they coach and the types of drills they run. I don’t think I could be good at what I do without these people around me.”


But there’s one person who Rubino says inspires her most: Marc Vecchiolla, the Director of Tennis at Mercer County Tennis Facility.


“Marc coached me when I was a junior player and he left a lasting impact on me,” said Rubino. “That’s what I want to be for the kids I coach. And he took a chance on me by giving me this job at Mercer County. He’s done so much for me. If I can be half of what he is, I’ll be happy.”


In addition to coaching, Rubino also assists Vecchiolla at the tournament director desk during local events, and it’s become one of her favorite parts of the job. 


She loves coaching and has no plans to stop doing it, but her dream is to be the director of a facility one day.


“One of my favorite parts of coaching is all the people you get to meet,” Rubino said. “As the director of a facility, you get to be a presence in people’s lives for years and years.”


For now, she’s enjoying her time as a coach, impacting one player after another. 


“I give everything I possibly can to the kids I coach,” Rubino said. “Seeing their happiness and watching them enjoy the game means the world to me.”


Learn more about USTA Middle States Awards by clicking here.


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