Steve Mauro’s life got a little more hectic this year.
Aside from resuming his responsibilities as head coach of the men’s tennis team, he is in his first year of directing the women’s team. Luckily, he has a familiar face close by.
Mauro’s son, Kurt, a freshman, is suiting up for the Owls this season. It’s just one way he can stay closer to his family throughout the grind of a season.
“It’s actually a lot of fun,” Steve said. “I feel privileged that I could see him five days, six days a week here on campus, so as a father it’s great to have that opportunity.”
Steve is also a professional tennis instructor at Fossler Cheltenham Tennis Center in Elkins Park, Pa. Before calling the shots for the Owls, he spent two years, 2004 and 2005, as the men’s tennis coach at Ursinus College. His initial gravitation toward the sport ultimately led to Kurt finding a swing of his own.
“I’ve been coaching Kurt since he was 6 years old, so to coach him at the college level is really no different,” Steve said. “I treat him the same way that I have in the past.”
Kurt has found solace through his father’s teachings. Years of repetition have given the duo a unique connection.
“He doesn’t really coach me too much because I know what I have to do to win,” Kurt said. “He’s been coaching me for so long, I know when I make a mistake. I know what he wants me to do.”
The Collegeville, Pa., native is making a smooth progression to collegiate tennis, but the route wasn’t always so clear. Midway through his sophomore year of high school, Kurt moved to Florida. While taking online courses, he used his spare time to catapult his skills to a higher level.
“If it wasn’t for that, I don’t know if I’d be able to play at this high level,” Kurt said. “[In] Pennsylvania, it’s colder in the winter — it’s hard. Down in Florida, there are so many good players, and I can play everyday there.”
Naturally, Steve has challenged Kurt on the court. But off it, he wants his son to make the most of his college career as well.
“I think I’ve always been harder on both of my children than the other guys,” Steve said. “I mean, I do have high expectations, but I want him to really enjoy his college experience here at Temple, and so far it’s been a good thing.”
With the appropriate tutor looking over his shoulder, Kurt has the opportunity to make the team’s spring lineup, which will be decided in late February. Currently, he is recovering from a hand injury suffered during the summer.
Until then, Kurt continues to work out with the team in practice. He’s also taking the steps necessary to improve his game for the long term.
“[I’m] getting my fitness better and going to the gym a lot and stepping up fitness-wise,” Kurt said. “Practicing a lot, as much as I can, try and get on the court everyday.”
As for the chances of a third Mauro joining the team? Although Steve’s youngest son – 16-year-old Derek – plays the game, it appears he has other ambitions.
“My son Derek is a very talented player,” Steve said. “Unfortunately, tennis is not his main interest. He’s into mixed martial arts.”
This weekend the men’s team heads to Bradenton, Fla., for the Bollettieri-Triebly Tennis Open.
Anthony Stipa can be reached at email@example.com.