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News Release Date:
Thursday, June 5, 2008
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – John Hein, fresh from a coaching stint in London, England, is the new women’s tennis coach at Whitman College.
Hein, who shared in a national championship as a player at the University of California-Santa Cruz in 1998, replaces Hannah Swee, who served as an interim coach this past year. Swee, a 2005 Whitman graduate, filled a void left when veteran coach Heidi Tate left the coaching ranks in the spring of 2007 to pursue a career in the medical field.
Hein, 29, expects to begin his coaching duties at Whitman, a member of the Northwest Conference (NCAA Division III), on August 1. He is nearing the end of a year-long stay in London, where he has worked as a community outreach and talent identification coach.
Hein's coaching position in London is funded through Great Britain's Lawn Tennis Association, the national governing body for tennis. His duties ranged from providing weekly tennis lessons in primary schools to helping identify and direct the most talented young players to the High Performance Academy hosted by the Riverside Chiswick Health/Racquet Club in West London.
Hein, who played his prep tennis at Paradise (Calif.) High School, earned his bachelor's degree (with honors) in molecular, cellular and developmental biology at UC-Santa Cruz in 2000. He was an assistant coach with the UC-Santa Cruz women's tennis team from 1999 through 2003. He completed his master's program in biological sciences (with distinction) at California State University-Chico in 2006, and then taught biology classes at both Cal State-Chico and Butte-Glenn Community College during the 2006-07 academic year.
"John is a young man of tremendous ability," Whitman athletic director Dean Snider said. "He brings with him a championship attitude that was fostered during his time at UC-Santa Cruz, and we're confident he can help instill that same atmosphere here at Whitman. In addition, given his own track record of accomplishment on the academic side, we're also confident he can help mentor our student-athletes as they balance their academic and athletic experiences."
Hein, who competed as an NCAA Division III athlete at UC-Santa Cruz, says that coaching women's tennis within the context of Whitman's rigorous academic setting represents his "dream job."
"I cannot overstate how thrilled I am to become part of the Whitman community," he says. "I am a firm believer in the Division III student-athlete concept, and I know from experience that you can have a great academic career alongside a great athletic career. These things do not, however, simultaneously occur without sacrifice, determination and talent.
"What I hope to bring to Whitman is the ability to build a championship program that is nationally competitive without sacrificing the outstanding academics, team unity and community service that are Whitman hallmarks. Whitman is an ideal place to build such a program. We have a solid group of returning players, great tennis and fitness facilities, and a supportive environment for students to grow both as people and as players."
Hein, who shared in a California regional doubles crown in high school, saw relatively little playing time with ultra-talented UC-Santa Cruz during its 1998 national championship run. In recognition of Hein's off-the-court contributions and ability to motivate more talented teammates, however, Hein became the first player in school history to receive a national championship ring without having played on the traveling squad.
Bob Hansen, who has coached the UC-Santa Cruz men's team to six national titles over the past two decades, says Hein was a "significant part" of the team success during the late 1990s. "John was unparalleled in his focused, diligent, organized and conscientious approach to attaining his goals," Hansen says. "With sensitivity and compassion, insight and problem-solving ability, and with incredible powers of concentration, he was a great team member and leader. His will to succeed and ability to produce positive results in pressure situations has been an inspiration to all those who have had the privilege to be involved in our program."
Hein, who missed his junior season while studying at the University of British Columbia, then skipped his senior season to begin his assistant coaching duties with the women's tennis program at UC-Santa Cruz. "The women on the team thoroughly enjoyed his involvement as did head coach Dave Muldawer," Hansen recalls. "I was envious of the quality of his work, which inspired my assistant coaches to stretch, give and create more quality in their efforts."
Hein also played an integral role in youth tennis camps held at UC-Santa Cruz over a span of six summers, Hansen says. His leadership abilities "quickly distinguished John," Hansen adds, as he advanced to roles as head counselor, staff trainer and finally co-director.
After completing his undergraduate degree at UC-Santa Cruz, Hein worked part-time for three years as a post-graduate researcher and lab manager in the school's Department of Environmental Studies. From 2003 through 2007, he was the tennis program coordinator and coach for the Paradise Recreation and Park District, where he ran summer camps, created spring and fall clinics for juniors and adults, and ran spring clinics for aspiring and current high school players.
"I think the bottom line is that I view my varied background as very much a strength," Hein says. "I wouldn't trade away anything that I've done, but now that the opportunity is here, I can't wait to immerse myself in Whitman tennis."