New England

College Knowledge: Quinnipiac University

James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | March 01, 2021

HAMDEN, CT - Paula Miller has been part of the Quinnipiac University family since 1992. She was a player, assistant coach, associate head coach and now serves as the Bobcats’ Director of Tennis and Women’s Head Coach. Since taking the helm in the 2013-14 season, Miller has led the women to five MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Championships, five NCAA Tournament appearances and has earned four conference Coach of the Year awards. The team went 43-0 during conference play from 2013-2019. 


Miller and her team are currently preparing for their 2021 spring season, which begins this Saturday at home against Stony Brook University. 


In the meantime, Miller answers a few questions about her recruiting process and sustained long-term success with the Bobcats.


When scouting junior players, what are the most important personality traits you’re looking for?


My most important off-court character traits would be: Hardworking, relationships, loyalty, honesty, appreciation, encouraging and attitude on how you carry yourself on and off the court. The best players I have coached consistently have great attitudes at practice, enjoy going to school, enjoy the team and are consistent in their class attendance, preparation for exams, papers, etc.


What does it take to succeed at a MAAC school or in your system in particular?


Any player can strive at a MAAC school. They get a great balance of tennis and a great education. Being in the Northeast, we have the opportunity to play many great schools that are all nearby. It’s important that they show the ability to win (competitive), drive to improve (hardworking), ability to learn (coachable), ability to adjust (resilient) and positive court demeanor (energetic).


How would you describe MAAC tennis? 


I think over these past 5-6 years, our conference as a whole has much improved on the level of players. As coaches, we’ve been able to recruit a much higher level of players than in the past.  I think it’s due to the academics at our institutions as well as the longevity of the coaches at each program. The MAAC has become much stronger as a whole.

What does it say about your players and system that you’ve been able to sustain conference success for so long?


It's exciting to win and go to the NCAA tournament. We realize that we do have tough opponents that could beat us if we don't prepare like we should and play like we should. We know we have to take care of business as our conference has become much stronger. My players have the ability to think of their teammates before they think of themselves. This is important for their contributions to our team and it helps them in their development process. The players that have the heart to win, not just for themselves, but for the team, will be most successful. We have great team dynamics. We are a family. A team that gets along well together, plays well together. 

At a school like Quinnipiac, what can a New England junior do to set themself apart in the recruiting process?


Contact the coach. Right now because of the NCAA rules, we cannot go and watch them play.  They can however email us a match video and information about themselves or set up a phone call.


What do you do to help players navigate the recruiting process and make them more comfortable with the Quinnipiac community?


I set up many phone calls. I stay in contact often with texts and calls. Usually I’ll have them come to campus to meet the team and am hoping that will happen again soon. I think it helps to see how well they get along with each other and with me. I also get them in contact with our admissions contact to help with that process. If they are interested in a certain major, I will also have someone in that department reach out about the academics. 


How has COVID-19 affected your recruiting? 


First off, it's hard because you have players deciding whether to come for an extra year or not.  Most of our players are in accelerated programs, so they already receive their Master’s Degree in four years. It’s a matter of if they have another major they may want to pursue. But on the other hand, there are many graduate students now looking for rosters for the extra year. There were many players I was recruiting for this coming fall 2021, but instead I have two graduate students coming from other Division I programs. There are more players to recruit. 


What advice do you have for aspiring NCAA tennis players who haven't begun to be scouted or recruited yet?


1. The primary reason for going to college is to get a quality education that will prepare you for life after school. Make sure the college you are looking at has your major of interest. 

2. Second, the culture, location and other attributes of the campus. Can you see yourself on this campus for four years?

3. Athletics. Ask questions that are important for you. Do you like the coach, the team chemistry, the program’s history? Ask, “Do I realistically have a chance to play or contribute to the team?” 


What is the biggest selling point when talking to a prospective recruit about Quinnipiac?


Family. All our alumni are still very close and keep in contact. You had teammates that are now considered family. And it’s not just our women. Our men and women are extremely close. I’ve been at Quinnipiac since 1992 as a player, then Assistant Coach, Associate Head Coach and Head Coach/Director. It all started with former Head Coach Michael Quitko who coached both the men and women starting in 1991. He started this one big Quinnipiac tennis family and it still continues!


To learn more about Quinnipiac Women’s Tennis, visit their website


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