Todd Rubinstein reflects on 500th win after 22nd season as high school coach

Arthur Kapetanakis | June 29, 2023

In his nine years as head coach at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School, Todd Rubinstein has guided his players to two individual state championships in the Florida High School Athletic Association's Class 3A. The 2016 boys' singles title, won by Tom Jaworski, and the 2017 boys' doubles crown, claimed by Jaworksi and Edward Luca, remain the lone state championships in the history of the Miami school's athletic program.


While those two single-season achievements stand out among Rubinstein's decorated resume, a major milestone reached this spring spotlights his overall success and longevity across 22 years as a high school head tennis coach. With victories for both his boys' and girls' teams on April 4, the 2018 USPTA National High School Coach of the Year eclipsed the 500-wins mark for his career.

After celebrating the moment with his team, Rubinstein reflected on the significance of the achievement and all the players, staff and administration who have helped him along the way.


"If anything, it just made me think about how long I've been doing this, and all the kids that I have been fortunate to impact," he told "I watched them grow up and have their own families and their own kids and their careers. And I still stay in touch with so many of them, even from like 20 years ago.


"I'm proud of them and their accomplishments, not necessarily my 500th win, because, again, it's made me reflect on all the years I've been doing this. But at the end of the day, and even though I'm the coach, it's not remotely close to being about me. It's about the kids and their families and the schools that I've been a part of."


In addition to his duties as boys' and girls' head coach, Rubinstein is also the special education coordinator at Mourning High, which opened in 2009. Named the school's Teacher of the Year in 2019, his unique dual roles serve each other thanks to the overlap between the skills he uses in each.


"Being in education, it's kind of a cool balance. Actually I intertwine both together," he explained. "With my knowledge in education, I'll pass it along to the players... Kind of like, you know, you're a teacher and a coach. You don't just coach, you teach.


"It's not only about working hard. I teach the kids how to compete hard also. Anyone can play hard, but are you competing hard? And sometimes it takes a little more thought provoking, a little more experience out of a coach to get that out of somebody."


Rubinstein's coaching experience extends far beyond his career at the high school level, which began at Piper High School in Broward County, Fla., in 1997 and continued at Goleman High in Miami-Dade County for 12 seasons after that.

Todd Rubinstein and his teams celebrate his 500th win. Photo courtesy of Todd Rubinstein.

A former high school standout himself, he is also a USTA High Performance Coach and a USPTA Elite Professional. His credentials earned him the role of head coach for the United States team at the 2017 World Maccabiah Games in Israel and the 2019 European Games in Budapest.


Across all his coaching ventures, Rubinstein has prioritized a team-first culture and a family atmosphere.


"The primary thing that I think is most important is to create a good culture," he said. "If you create a good team culture and you have that family backbone, everything else will come. They'll play for you, they'll listen to you, they'll trust you, they'll respect you.


"And not just the coach, but the players. They all will trust each other and they'll all respect each other. So to me, really, my philosophy is about creating a family and again, it's really all about the team. And that's always been my philosophy."

Photo courtesy of Todd Rubinstein.

In line with that idea of team-building is Rubinstein's larger goal of creating memorable experiences on and off the tennis court for his student-athletes.


"It's about giving the kids the best experience they can possibly have," he added. "It's all about the experience, period. And when I say that, it's not just about the players, it's about the families also, because they're a big part of the equation as well."


Family ties were a big part of Rubinstein's 2023 teams. Six years after he coached Jaworski and Luca to the 2017 state doubles title, their sisters anchored his girls' roster at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, as well as No. 1 doubles. Both seniors are graduating this year, with both set to attend the University of Florida on academic scholarships.


Zooming out on the game of tennis beyond high school, Rubinstein also shared his thoughts on player development at the junior level. Despite his intense focus on the sport as a coach, he believes that kids should play multiple sports to develop well-rounded athletic skills and have fun—a nod to the USTA's American Development Model.

"I believe that kids should not specialize in playing just tennis. They should play other sports, like maybe do cross country, play soccer, be a kid, grow up, enjoy yourself," he said. "Then when you get to a certain age, then maybe specialize in just tennis."


In his coaching career, Rubinstein has specialized not only in tennis, but in winning—more than 500 times over.


Read more on Rubinstein honored as 2018 USPTA National High School Coach of the Year

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