Austin Williams, a Manursing Island pro who is now helping coach the Yale Men’s Tennis Team.
When members of the Yale University Men’s Tennis team arrived for their first day of practice this month, they met a new member of the squad — Austin Williams. The 26-year-old former Wichita State University player, who this year was a teaching pro at Manursing Island Club in Rye and before that taught at Short Hills Club in New Jersey, hadn’t planned on “going back to school.” But when his former college tennis coach called to tell him that a number of top universities were looking for coaches because the pandemic had thinned out the candidate field, Williams’ interest was piqued.
When he went to New Haven for his interview, Williams met a handful of the Yale players. “I discovered I still felt very much at home on a college campus.”
He returned a Volunteer Assistant Coach on the Bulldogs. “The experience is what matters,” he said. “I can earn money with private lessons and clinics. My job is to help the Yale team, which finished sixth in the Ivies last year, make it to fourth, or better, in the rankings.” He has already studied up on Yale’s biggest rivals — Penn, Columbia, Harvard — and is looking forward to traveling with the team to their first tournament, the Duke Invitational Regionals at Penn.
Williams comes from a family of athletes — his mother ran track in college and his father was a pole vaulter.
“I’m just glad to still be playing tennis at a high level, unlike so many of my former teammates who were great college players but have moved on to non-sports careers — and switched to golf!”
Williams, who played in Manursing’s elite Richardson Tournament this summer, quipped: “I’ll be back for next year’s Richardson, and I’ve got almost a year to recruit a great partner.”
- Robin Jovanovich