May 25, 2011

Question and Answer with Tennis Coach James Bryce

Bryce to Rebuild Saint Leo Men's and Women's Programs

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Recently, Head Men's and Women's Tennis Coach James Bryce, sat down with Florida Tennis Magazine to talk about the rebuilding of both the men's and women's programs.

Leading each team to two of their most successful seasons in program history, Bryce and both squads know big stage success is in their grasp.

Thanks to the April/May edition of Florida Tennis Magazine for the following piece.

James Bryce was named head men's and women's tennis coach at Saint Leo in August of 2009.

He came to Saint Leo from fellow NCAA Division II institution Columbus State University, where he was the assistant coach for both men's and women's programs, giving him the necessary experience to run a combined tennis operation out of one office. His two-year stint for the Cougars saw Bryce earn valuable recruiting experience, as he helped take both teams to numerous NCAA postseason tournaments.

Q: How are you rebuilding Saint Leo's men's and women's programs?
A: "We are in the process of rebuilding. In the late 1980's Saint Leo had teams that were ranked in the top-15 in the country consistently. My goal is to bring the program back to that level. Saint Leo has a lot to offer. We have a beautiful tennis facility, our athletic director is committed to tennis, and academically the school continues to improve. For me it started with the development of my current players and then I have to recruit to bring up our level."

Q: What is your recruiting philosophy?
A: "If you want to be top-15 in the country you cannot make recruiting mistakes. I have had the unique opportunity to be a player and a coach, so I have seen both sides of the recruiting cycle. I was also an assistant coach at Samford and Columbus State. At Samford we recruited American players and at Columbus State we recruited International players. Based on my background I know I can recruit both American and foreign players and my goal is to have 50% American players and 50% International Players."

Q: What is your coaching philosophy?
A: "My titles says I am the head men's and women's coach, but my #1 priority is to make sure each student-athlete that plays for me graduates. Playing tennis for your university is a bonus. With my players and teams I try to establish a daily and weekly routine. We practice two hours per day, Monday-Friday, and have physical conditioning three days a week."

Q: You are the men's and women's coach. What are the pros and cons of overseeing both?
A: "The approach with the men's and women's team is very different. So I have a different approach with each team but we do a lot together. A couple days a week we will practice together, and we also travel to matches together. Everyone knows each other very well, and it has created a family atmosphere. The only negative to coaching both teams is when we play matches at the same time. Then we have to count on my experienced players because I have 12 courts to cover.'

Q: What are your goals for the next few years?
A: "I want to continue to have the highest GPA on campus. Our goal as a tennis program is to continue to improve and develop. Our team goal is to make the NCAA Tournament on an annual basis. We also want to be ranked in the top-15 in the nation again hopefully by the end of 2012."