When Steve Mauro was growing up, tennis was his secret.
The sport wasn’t exactly considered popular back then, he said, partially because of the “dorky” clothes tennis players wore. So, Mauro, a former ice hockey player, had to find ways to play the game he loved without anyone knowing.
“I would sneak out with my mom and play with her,” Mauro said. “I didn’t want my friends to find out.”
After 14 years of coaching tennis, it is safe to say that Mauro now openly loves the game.
Mauro took over as the men’s coach at Temple in the 2005-06 season. Three years later, he took over the women’s team as well. One aspect of the job he has always appreciated is the fact that there is not a set schedule, just a rough routine.
Mauro starts practice every morning between 7 and 7:30 a.m. Afterward, he usually goes back to his office where he fills out paperwork to recruit players from countries around the world and across the United States. He also teaches tennis classes at Temple.
All of this happens when he is not traveling with either of his teams to away matches, which can take him as far as Florida and Oklahoma.
Though managing two teams at once can be challenging, it is actually a common practice for some college tennis programs. Mauro said he works hard to not spread himself too thin and also has a lot of help from assistant coach Frederika Girsang and graduate assistants Monica Gorny and Maros Januvka. He believes leading both squads has made him a better coach and turned two teams into a singular, cohesive unit.
“He has a pretty good schedule for himself and he deals with it pretty well,” senior Vineet Naran said. “It never feels like he’s taking away time from either team.”
Mauro said taking over the reins of both teams has made them both become one “big family” with both squads working together.
“We’re here alone without our parents so he’s kind of like our dad at Temple, and we can go to him for anything,” senior Anais Nussaume said. “He’s just always there for us and we can always count on him.
Nussaume said she was sold on Mauro the first time she met him. While other coaches were more focused on players’ abilities and their time on the court, Mauro said he was insistent on having “nice” girls on his team who were truly good people and could create a family-like atmosphere.
Mauro, a father of two sons in their 20s, goes above and beyond to make sure his players feel like family.
“Every time it’s someone’s birthday we have no idea, but he always makes sure there’s a cake,” Nussaume said.
Mauro has a history of achieving important results on the court as well. He came into this season with a 100-94 overall record with the men’s team and a 69-40 record with the women’s team. Men’s players have qualified for all-conference honors 12 times while his women’s team members have qualified 13 times.
In his first year with the men’s team, he helped spark a 14-win turnaround from the previous season as the Owls finished 17-8 and placed third in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.
During his first year coaching both teams, he guided the women’s team to a 17-6 record and a second overall finish in the Atlantic 10. He also saw four of his players achieve academic all-conference awards.
As for the future, Mauro says he loves the administration and the students at Temple. He plans to stay in his current position for as far as he can see into the future.
“I think my wife might like it if I took a job in somewhere warm, like Florida,” Mauro said. “But I’d really like to stay at Temple as long as possible.”
Dan Wilson and Graham Foley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @TTN_Sports.