New England

College Knowledge: The University of Saint Joseph

James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | October 06, 2021

WEST HARTFORD, CT - The University of St. Joseph (USJ), a women’s-only college in West Hartford, CT until 2018, recently kicked off its inaugural men’s tennis season. The new men’s program is competing as a club team this season and will transition into a varsity program in the fall of 2022. The team is coached by West Hartford native and local teaching pro, Craig Davidson.


Davidson talks about leading his new program, what he’s most excited for and what his future goals and expectations are. 


I know you are a local teaching pro. How did you first hear about the head coaching position and how excited were you to apply?


Yes, I’m a pro at Enfield Tennis Club and also the head pro at the JCC Swim and Tennis Club in Bloomfield, CT. Good question. I remember hearing from a friend of mine that USJ was considering starting a Men’s tennis program. When it became official that they were looking to hire a head coach, I got extremely excited about the opportunity. I filled out the application and sent in my resume. Soon after that, I met with AD Amanda Devitt and began the long  process of trying to get the position.


Does being from the area give you an advantage in any way coaching this team?

I think it does. I grew up five minutes down the road from USJ. As a kid, I was a member of the O’Connell Center on USJ’s campus. My friends and I would go shoot hoops, use the work out facility, and go swimming all the time. I was on campus quite a bit. I grew up with the University of Saint Joseph. It’s been part of the fabric of the Greater Hartford area for a long time. I feel a connection to this place. To see what this campus has become is incredible. The brand new O’Connell Center is a state-of-the-art facility. The tennis courts are brand new, they were completely resurfaced recently and are amazing. I’m extremely proud to be the Head Men’s Tennis Coach at USJ. I know the area very well, and I think that will help me in building this program.


What are you most excited for to be leading the team in its first season in 2022?

I’m just so pumped to be building this program from the ground up. The USJ community is a family, and that’s how I want to build the tennis program. I want my team to be close, tight knight, to lean on each other and care for one another. First and foremost, I want great people on my team. I want great tennis players too. Let’s build this together. I might be the Head Coach, but it’s the players’ program. I want them to take ownership of the program. I’m excited for practice, for working hard and getting better. I’m going to do everything I can to build this program the right way and give the USJ family a men’s tennis team they can be proud of. It’s very special. I’m a player’s coach. It goes beyond tennis with me. I truly care about my players and all aspects of their lives. I want them to become better tennis players for sure. But I want them to leave USJ the best version of themselves and ready for the next chapter of their life.


It's obviously difficult being a brand new program. What are your short and long-term goals?

I want to build a roster top to bottom that’s deep and ready to compete right away that first year in fall 2022/spring 2023. Being a brand new program, I want players that are going to represent USJ to the best of their ability and leave it all out on the court. My long-term goal is to win a conference championship and be a consistent NCAA tournament team, while recruiting the best student-athletes I can.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have and will continue to face in taking on a new program?

Being a brand new program will definitely present some challenges. Some student-athletes want to go to established programs with history. We don’t have any history. I want players that want to help build something special. Recruiting is the key to any program, it’s the lifeblood. I want players who want to make USJ Men’s Tennis into that established program, that winning program.

Why did you guys decide to be a club team for the 2021 season? Was that the original plan or did COVID play a role in that decision?

COVID definitely made things more difficult, that’s for sure. We want to build this the right way without any limitations. The original plan was to be a varsity program this year, but that just wasn’t possible. We're building, and next year will be ready to compete in the GNAC Conference.    


How have your kids embraced the club tennis scene?

They’ve totally embraced it. There are some great players in the club tennis environment. We're getting some great competition that will only help us moving forward. The guys are thrilled to be part of something brand new and enjoy playing a role in helping to build this program. I cannot wait for next season. Go Blue Jays!


What does your team currently look like? Have you recruited already or do you have walk-ons.

I’ve got four guys on the squad currently, two of which I recruited to play for the varsity team. They're all in. They will be two important players for us as we transition to a varsity program next season. The other two players are walk-ons.


What is your season looking like this year?

We’ve been practicing for more than a month now and have played two matches so far. We brought in UConn and WPI’s club teams for the first match, and then we brought in Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac’s club teams. It’s been so much fun to get out there and compete. My guys are having a blast and so am I! All the guys on the team are good friends, and that sense of family I mentioned before, I can already feel it building. We will play probably one or two more matches this fall, and in the spring, we will continue to practice and play more matches. We will most likely continue to play club teams in the spring, but I’ve spoken with some varsity teams as well, so that’s also a possibility.


Coach Davidson can be reached by email at


To learn more about the program, click here


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