College Knowledge: Colby College
WATERVILLE, ME - In his third season as Men’s & Women’s Head Coach at Colby College, Adam Reeb is hoping 2021 is the year to elevate the program to the next level. After his first crack at it in 2018-19 with full inherited rosters, Reeb’s women’s team finished 8-8 while the men went 7-9. Then in 2020, the pandemic halted what Reeb felt was shaping up to be a promising year, as both teams began the season nationally ranked.
Now, with seven New England juniors and Reeb’s influence felt throughout the roster, the former Seattle University coach looks to reignite the momentum his teams started to build on last season and carry it throughout a successful 2021 campaign.
Reeb, who earned USPTA’s New England Coach of the Year honors in 2020, answers questions on his roster, recruiting, playing through the pandemic and more.
What type of players are you looking to bring to Colby?
We're looking for committed, driven student-athletes who love tennis, have a great work ethic, and are great teammates.
How would you compare recruiting in the Pacific Northwest to here in New England?
Recruiting has similarities and differences among every school and location. Ultimately it is about finding student-athletes who are great fits for your school and team's culture. In the Pacific Northwest, it was a different division and a different type of campus location and overall different student-athlete experience than here at Colby. I think the most important thing is learning about your school and what makes it so special and then finding recruits who want that and that would be great fits for the culture of the team you have.
What are some of your biggest takeaways from Seattle that you've applied to Colby tennis?
I was pretty young when I got the chance to be a DI head coach at Seattle before the age of 30. I really enjoyed my time there and I think most importantly learned a lot and made a ton of mistakes to boot as well. I think I really came out of there knowing myself more as a coach and what my philosophy is and how I want to run a program and set a positive culture.
In terms of recruiting, I think it's just so important to find the right fits for your program and student-athletes who have similar values and goals that match yours. I think every coach goes through that maturation process as they are into their career, and I think Seattle was a big one for me. I of course am nowhere near perfect now, but I think Seattle taught me a lot about who I am as a coach and person which I think benefits me now at Colby. I feel I have a more clear and consistent plan of how I want my program to run and the culture I want our teams to embody.
With your teams being filled with New England talent, how pivotal is recruiting locally for you?
Very important! We are fortunate to be at one of the best academic schools in the country, so we do have a national and even global footprint, but recruiting locally is super important to us. We have some terrific men's and women's student-athletes from New England on our rosters who are vital to the success and growth of our programs. We usually will be out recruiting at many of the bigger tournaments and showcases in New England during the year.
Talk about the level of talent you’ve seen when recruiting in New England
I've seen some very talented student-athletes here in New England over the past few years. There are so many young men and women who are true embodiments of a student-athlete in that they are striving for excellence on and off the court. Many times I've seen a really strong toughness in players from New England in that they tend to have to deal with more elements throughout the year to train and compete than other regions. Overall, there is some great talent in New England and recruiting locally is and always will be at the core of our program.
Which New England recruits were you directly involved in bringing in?
On the men's side, I was directly involved in bringing in Joey Barrett (MA), Ben Powis (CT), and Josh Fleishman (MA). On the women's side, I was directly involved in bringing in Sam Riordan (CT).
For Sam, she was admitted and committed to Colby in the fall of her senior year, so her process wasn't affected too much because of COVID really. She has been a great addition to our team and someone who just loves to compete and represent Colby. The great thing about her is she still has a lot of potential to keep getting better and better and it's going to be fun to see that continued growth over the next four years.
- Adam Reeb is in his third year coaching the Colby College Men's & Women's Tennis teams.
- The Colby Men's Tennis Team is looking to earn a DIII National Ranking in 2021.
- The Colby Men's Tennis Team is looking to earn a DIII National Ranking in 2021.
How have your older New England players contributed to the team's success?
They've contributed a ton! Sumukh Pathi and Max Schuermann (both MA) are our team captains for the men's program and are instrumental to our team. Their leadership skills are superb and they have helped create such a tight-knit, close group. They are both strong players on court as well who have contributed a lot of success in both singles and doubles.
There was a five-person women's recruiting class that came in and started before I even got to Colby, composed of some New England players who have been so impactful to our program as well. Katharine Dougherty (MA) and Emilia Callery (CT) were part of that class and are from New England and they've contributed a lot to our team.
They are both players who haven't always been in the lineup every match, but they both give their all every day and every match they are in. You can always count on them, and they also have contributed in so many other ways off court as well in terms of leadership and welcoming and supporting all team members and just doing anything the coaching staff asks of them.
The NESCAC is known for its superb tennis. What does it take for a New England junior to reach the next level and compete in the conference?
I'm a big believer in competing, so playing as many tournaments and matches as you can is vital in the developmental process. You can't replicate that experience and you learn so much from each match that you can take back with you to the practice court. Be a student of the game and focus on trying to get just a little better each day and you'll be on your way.
How difficult was it for you, in just your second year, to have the season cut short because of COVID?
It was very difficult! We felt like we had prepared really well the whole year to have a strong spring season. The men had just come off a nice win to get back into the national rankings and the women were getting ready to compete for the first time that spring in a prestigious tournament in Virginia. There was a lot of excitement and momentum and then all of a sudden we were doing an impromptu end of the year banquet and everyone was heading off campus. It was naturally a very emotional and tough time.
How were you able to keep on track as a program?
We were able to stay together thanks to the leaders we have on both teams. Our captains (Max and Sumukh on the men's side and Carly Levitz and Callie Nesbitt on the women's side) organized weekly Zoom workouts, and we also did team and individual meetings to keep everyone connected and feeling together. We tried to keep things in perspective and focused on what we could control and just tried to stay as together as possible until we could return to campus again.
What advice would you give to a New England junior about to start the Colby recruiting process?
For us at Colby, it's about connecting with our team members and coaching staff to see if it would be a good fit on both ends. The intangibles are huge and it's a big decision. so you want to do your due diligence for sure. As I mentioned before, I love players who have a passion for the game and get out there and compete. College tennis is also a team sport so it is really important to understand that. We put a big value on that here, so we want players more concerned with how they can get better themselves and also make the team better.
What can a New England junior expect from you and your staff during the recruiting process?
Dedication, commitment and support of your efforts to be the best you can be on and off the court. We will strive to do our best to provide a great student-athlete experience for you!
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