New England

College Knowledge: Bates College

James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | August 04, 2021

LEWISTON, ME -  Paul Gastonguay lives and breathes Bates tennis. The men’s and women’s head coach graduated as the winningest tennis player in the school’s history, and just seven years later in 1996, he came back to lead the program that was so close to his heart. Gastonguay has also coached the women’s program since 2001, and in his time at the helm, he has coached 11 men’s and women’s players to 31 All-American selections, one NCAA singles and doubles champion and earned ITA DIII Northeast Coach of the Year honors in 2002. 


More importantly though, Gastonguay has built a winning culture. His teams perennially rank amongst the top of the DIII standings and earned trips to seven straight NCAA tournaments starting in 2000. 


Coach Gastonguay talks about the culture at Bates, what coaching at the school means to him and gives advice to prospective student-athletes. 


What type of athlete and person are you looking to bring to Bates?

We have worked hard to build a culture that revolves around character, work ethic and a passion to be the best. I have been blessed to coach so many amazing people over the years and they all have the same qualities. This energy is infectious and attracts more student- athletes that share those same qualities.  


As a coach, what are your main focuses with each individual student-athlete once they arrive on campus?

I do my best to form a solid relationship with every student-athlete in our program. To facilitate that and to make the biggest impact on each athlete, I do individual/small group workouts twice a week with every athlete. This allows me to develop every athlete and focus each session on what that athlete needs to get to the next level. We develop every athlete into an all-court player so they have options against every style of player. 


You have quite a few former New England juniors on your men's and women's teams. How crucial is recruiting locally?

I love that we have several Maine players and former USTA New England juniors on our teams. New England has a long tradition of outstanding student-athletes that are used to playing in our climate. Indoor tennis is a big part of the New England college tennis experience and it helps to have athletes that thrive on indoor courts. I love when our athletes' families can get to matches at home or on the road. On the men's team we have: Nick Forester, Cam Davis-Kania, Nikesh Desai  and Thorne Kieffer and Eli Criss and Ramiro Davila entering this fall. On the women's team, we just graduated Captain Hannah Sweeney - who was our number one singles player for four years, and we have Alexandra D'Aquino, Victoria Scott, Abigail Zerbey and Drew Williams entering this fall. 


What will you be doing differently this summer in terms of scouting/recruiting?

This summer we are finally allowed to get on the road to recruit and scout at showcases, recruiting camps and tournaments. I am excited to find the next Bobcat tennis athletes!


What advice would you give to a New England junior starting the recruiting process?

Reach out to the coaches at the schools you are interested in. Send an introductory email and set up a phone call or a Zoom meeting. Make sure that you include an unedited video of some match play against a challenging opponent. I am always happy to have a conversation to see if Bates College is a good fit, so never hesitate to reach out.

How much do you enjoy coaching at your alma mater?

I love coaching at Bates. Having been a student-athlete at Bates, I understand exactly what our current athletes are going through. Bates alum Bud Schultz was instrumental in attracting me to the school. He is a great example of what a Division III athlete can accomplish in college and beyond. I love being able to give back to Bates. The Lewiston - Auburn community and the people at Bates make this an attractive place to live and coach. I have been blessed to coach hundreds of amazing people who are always part of the Bates Bobcat Tennis family.   


How excited are you for next season?

I am very excited to coach and compete this year. Last year, we had a very limited schedule, and the year before that, we were canceled, so our rising juniors have only played 6 team matches. I can't wait to get on the court with our teams this fall! They are such an amazing group! We are also so happy to have Eliot Potvin, former USTA NE junior, and former Georgia Tech standout joining our staff this fall. I coached Eliot since he was 13, and he will be a huge addition to our programs! He is an amazing coach and our athletes will really benefit from his knowledge and experience. I can't wait to get started!


To learn more about Gastonguay or to contact him, click here

Men’s program homepage

Women’s program homepage

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