The Monmouth University men’s tennis team advanced to the 2023 CAA Conference semifinals, and went on a 18-7 overall, getting a positive and very high team GPA. This is what Chris Leicht, head coach of the Hawks, told us, in an exclusive interview for Tennis World USA.
Chris Leicht was named the head coach of the Monmouth University men’s tennis program on August 17, 2018. He comes to Monmouth from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania, where he served as the head coach for both the men’s and women’s programs for 16 seasons.
Monmouth’s first season as a CAA member in 2022-23 was a success for Leicht and his program, as Monmouth posted an 18-7 overall record and raced to the semifinals of the CAA Tournament. The Hawks upset No. 2 seed William & Mary in the quarterfinals, with a convincing 4-0 victory, after a win over No.
10 Hampton in the first round. The season was Monmouth’s third straight year, with a hitting percentage over .700. We asked Chris Leicht a series of questions, which the Hawks head coach kindly answered, as you can read below.
The head coach is not only a coordinator, but she/he must also act as a motivator, psychologist, glue of a group for his student-athletes. How would you rate your journey in the last season?
Yes, being a Head College Coach requires you to wear many different hats.
I have learned that each year is a new year, and I also think it’s very important to get to know each of your players personally. Tennis is such an individual sport, but we are also trying to build a winning team and culture here at Monmouth.
How do you rate the season of the Monmouth tennis team?
Our team had an excellent year. We went 18-7 overall, and advanced to the CAA Conference semifinals (upsetting the No. 2 seed on the way). Also, we achieved a lot of success off the court, including a very high team GPA.
Considering the fundamental collective team for collegiate tournaments, who are the student-athletes who surprised you the most during the season?
This season, we really used all 10 players to achieve our success. Every guy contributed towards our success.
What are the margins for improvement that the tennis team has in view of next season?
We are focused on achieving a team national ranking, and also on winning the CAA title and advancing to the NCAA National Tournament.
Each player has individual goals also to help us achieve these team goals.
Tennis, like all other collegiate sports, has a fundamental role in the development of the social life of young people. But tennis, as both an individual and a team sport, plays an even more central role: at Monmouth, is tennis as valued as any other sport?
Yes, I love working at Monmouth because tennis is very highly regarded and supported.
We have an amazing President, Athletic Director, and athletic administrators who all contribute to make this team so successful.
There is a lot of talk about mental health: is it a topic that is also talked about in the Monmouth locker room?
Yes, mental health is discussed daily here at Monmouth.
Monmouth University and the athletic department have also prioritized this topic, even hiring a new full time Sports Behavioral Health Specialist