After five years as assistant coach, Long Dao is now at the helm of the team he once played for and a team that only won two games last season. The new head coach for the tennis team keeps his cool in the face of adversity.
Dao began playing competitive tennis at age 14 while he was a student at Birmingham High School. He would continue to Pierce, before transferring to play Division I tennis at the University of Nevada for two years. Dao returned as an assistant coach for Pierce in 2010.
“He’s going to be helpful to his athletes as they are winding their way to Pierce as an athlete and as a student,” Athletic Director Bob Lofrano said. “If you’re a Brahma and you’re in the program, it means something to you.”
Dao approaches the game with a calm demeanor, where it seems like nothing bothers the new head coach. His new calm approach is different from the previous vibrant head coach Rajeev Datt.
“It’s almost like fire and ice. The coach from last year was energetic and blunt, while Long is very calm and collected,” tennis player Kiran Dev said. “He’s [Dao] got a different approach, a different perspective to the game which I’ve never seen from any other coach.”
Dao has heavily invested in this team, even going so far as to pay for the tennis team to have uniforms out of his own pocket.
“He likes to keep things simple, very calm all the time. I’ve never seen him mad or angry,” Dev added.
Lofrano is looking forward to seeing Dao lead, as well as bringing more student athletes to the team and helping them grow.
Currently, there are five members of the team.Dao and Dev are encouraging students to join.
The men’s tennis team trains Monday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. matches are on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon.
“I encourage people to try because it’s an experience that you can’t really get anywhere else. I’ve been with this team for so long. I’m invested and I am here to try my best, to make them succeed in the best I can,” Dao said.