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The Harvard athletic department yesterday announced that it has named Gordon Graham the new women's varsity tennis coach, ending its three-month search for a replacement for Ed Krass.
Graham, presently the tennis program coordinator and head women's coach at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., has had a winning record for 10 consecutive years. The 1985 Big West Conference Coach of the Year was notified approximately two weeks ago that he had been chosen by the department.
The department began what Graham called "a thorough search, a long search" for a new women's coach in late spring. Krass announced this May, after leading the team to the Ivy League championship, that he would leave the post he had held for four years. The department posted notices in a number of publications, and although it attracted 60 applicants, it interviewed only five or six of them, said Athletic Director Bill Cleary '56.
Cleary said Graham's 12 years of experience at University of the Pacific was a factor in the decision, and cited the Pacific team's success during his tenure.
"He's got a nice way, he knows the sport, and he gets along real well with the kids," Cleary said. "I think he's going to run a very successful program."
Cleary said he is confident that Graham can capably handle the additional responsibilities of coaching: recruiting, fundraising and relating to students.
Graham has had a great deal of experience with those duties at Pacific, where he was responsible for managing the men's and women's teams. Graham said he frequently trained the new men's coach, but that he has not coached men's tennis since 11 years ago, when he decided he would rather work with the women's team.
"I'm accustomed to working with women, I enjoy working with women, and I really look forward to coaching the team at Harvard," Graham said.
Graham said that he had confi- dence in the Harvard players, but that he wouldwork to make them more aggressive. He said thatwhile most of the college-level women had "strongbase skills," most of them do not play enough of a"power game."
"I teach them aggressive tactics, and to attackthe net--they don't come out playing like guys, byany means, but they learn to play moreaggressively," Graham said.
Another goal of Graham is to recruitaggressively. Although his new coaching job takesonly nine months out of year, Graham said he wouldspend his free time in the summer recruiting.Successful recruits could make the Harvard team atop-level contender, the coach said.
"It's always done really well in the Ivies, andwith good recruiting it can compete on a nationallevel as well," Graham said.
Graham said that he was used to offeringrecruits scholarships, but that he liked thechallenge offered by the Harvard athletic system,which offers no athletic scholarships. Graham alsosaid that he believed that although he could notoffer recruits any funds, there would be otherenticements to Harvard--namely, its academicreputation.
"That'll be a change, working with anon-scholarship program. But Harvard can be justas strong as Pacific--it is just as strong asPacific," Graham said.
"Harvard has proven in the past that it cancompete in tennis as well as in hockey," he added.
Graham said that he is aware that tennis itselfwill have to compete for the students' attention,especially at an institution, he said, where thereare as many academic demands as at Harvard.
The coach said he believes that among the threeoptions of socializing, academics and athletics,students can do only two well. He said mostHarvard athletes will probably choose the lasttwo.
"I like the Ivy League philosophy that you canexcel at academics and athletics," Graham said."Harvard symbolizes excellence, and I'd like achance to work in that kind of environment."
Graham said that he is reluctant to setspecific or demanding goals for his first year inthe post. He said he thinks he will probably spenda good deal of time "getting acclimated" to theplayers, the league and the department.
But Cleary said he thought Graham was wellequipped to fill the post.
"He knows the Harvard team pretty well. He'scoached against Harvard teams, and he's beat us,too," Cleary said.
Graham did say that he hoped to take the IvyLeague championship next year, but feared thatBrown would pose a strong threat to the Crimson.
Cleary also said he hoped the team would stormthe Ivy League.
"We'd like to see him win the Ivies, and Idon't know what's going on next year, but if wehave the talent, I'd like like to see [the team]go to the nationals," Cleary said
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