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Journeys: Alumni coach Q-and-A with … Fairview’s Chad Tsuda

Tsuda won two titles as a player and coached the Knights to a team title in 2017

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Chad Tsuda was a two-time individual champion while attending Fairview two decades ago.

He returned as head coach to help bring the Knights their elusive first team title.

Tsuda, a four-year No. 1 singles player at Fairview, graduated in 2002. Over a dominant high school career, he qualified for the state tournament in each of the four seasons and capped his legacy with back-to-back titles as a junior and senior, losing just one match in the two-year span.

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Chad Tsuda

He played collegiately at the University of Colorado, helping lead the Buffs to No. 23 in the nation in doubles and singles as a senior, the highest in school history. After college, he played in Europe before returning to the area to serve as a private instructor and coach with the Knights starting in 2008.

Under Tsuda, Fairview has won the Front Range League tournament title in each of his 12 years at the helm. In 2017, the Knights broke new ground when it won the program’s first state title in history, knocking off stalwart Cherry Creek, who they finished second to the previous six seasons.

While at Fairview, Tsuda taught lessons at Rich’s Tennis School before transitioning to Meadows Swim and Tennis Club, where he also serves as the director of tennis.

How did your tennis journey lead you back to your alma mater to coach Fairview’s boys tennis team?

“That is a good question. I always wanted to stay in tennis. I got to play a little tennis in Europe right after college and quickly realized that was not going to be my future. As far as coaching, the (Fairview) athletic director, coach Frank Lee was the athletic director when I was in high school and he just came to me offering that their coach was leaving in a year and wanted me to think about coming back and coaching for Fairview. It kind of just fit. Something at Fairview always felt good to me when I was there for my four years and it was fun to go back and help out your alma mater.”

Who were some of your main coaching influences in high school, college, etc., and can you talk a bit about how they inspired you to become a coach yourself?

“It started with my Dad. My Dad was like my coach in all sports — baseball, soccer, basketball and tennis at the start. He started me off with every sport. It intrigued me after being a player to be like, ‘Ah coaching, it’s something that runs in my family’. It really influenced me to try and make it a career.”

In a profession that can have a lot of turnover and change, how do you see your future in coaching going? Is coaching at Fairview or at the high school level something you see yourself continuing to do long term or is there something else on the horizon?

“I think I am getting a good taste of a little bit of everything. Coming from a private facility where we only did private lessons, to now a more club-type atmosphere at The Meadows, it’s nice to see every aspect of coaching. Being a high school coach, early on I got the team side of what tennis can be. The nice thing is getting a feel for a little bit of everything in the realm of coaching all levels and teams. Probably the only thing I haven’t been able to do is coach the college level. But it’s been fun, just to see everything there is to offer in the world of coaching tennis.”

Lot of good tennis players have come and gone through the program you’ve coached. What do you hope players took away from being a part of your program?

“I think that the biggest thing, and I am lucky I still get to stay in contact with a lot of my old players, that in an individual sport I think what is nice is our environment of being a team. We have had very talented players come in and out of Fairview and they always just come away with ‘team is bigger than I’. We have had some state champions at high levels and high positions that put the team before themselves. Being one of the best in the state it’s nice to see that they’re humble even though they’re very strong players.”

If you can pin it down, what is your favorite moment from coaching Fairview? If it’s the state title in 2017, what do you remember most about that tournament?

“I think, really, it’s just a culmination. A lot of players wrote me, texted me, emailed me, called me and they’re just like, ‘Wow, we’re so happy that it finally happened’. It’s just a culmination of all of those players. All of them put in their hard work and each year the team got stronger and the team that won it — they were thanking past players that they played with. It’s just a really fun thing to see that everyone was thankful for everyone. That year, (any player) couldn’t have done it by themselves. I think that is the biggest thing that I saw, is that it was a team effort and everyone that came through Fairview had a part in building the confidence to win the state title.”

Andy Colwell / For BoCopreps.com
The Fairview tennis team celebrates with the Class 5A state championship trophy Saturday at Gates Tennis Center.