Anthony Weber is the head coach for the Colorado College men’s and women’s tennis teams. Weber played Division I tennis at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Upon returning to the Springs, Weber joined CC’s coaching staff as an assistant in 2011. He became head coach during the 2013-2014 season. CC will be hosting the SCAC championship tournament over seventh block break.
Ben Hall: When was the last time we hosted the conference? Have we ever?
Anthony Weber: I don’t think we ever have. Because even back in the day when I first started here, the conference was much bigger. It was all the DIII schools in the Southeast—Millsaps, Rhodes, Sewanee, Oglethorpe—who are now in a conference of their own. It was usually hosted in Little Rock or Atlanta, so I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve hosted.
BH: So we’ve never had the home court advantage before?
AW: It’ll be interesting. When we practice on a nice day like today—when it’s 60 degrees—by the time we’re out there in the shade hitting balls it’s probably 45. We’ve gone down to Texas this time of year and it’s 95 degrees and 80 percent humidity.
BH: Watching you guys at the conference [in San Antonio] last year was brutal.
AW: I know. It’s gonna be kind of fun … for those teams it’s gonna be a shock to play at 6,000 feet … if you don’t string your rackets a bit different, every ball is 6-8 inches out until you can adjust.
BH: I hear you have a new diet. Tell me about that.
AW: How did that come up? It’s going pretty good. It was pretty much no carbs for about two or three weeks, and I started it probably right at the beginning of December. I was severely out of shape and overweight, so I’ve been doing two-a-days a couple days a week, and then taking one off day when I can go crazy, have a few beers, and eat whatever the heck I want. So I’ve been doing that for a couple months, lost a lot of weight doing it; I feel a lot better.
BH: I ran into Jenna McDonald and Caroline James in the library yesterday, and I said to them, “I’m interviewing your coach tomorrow, what should I ask him?” And this was the only thing that they wanted me to ask you about. So, where are you from?
AW: Pretty much from here. I went to high school down at Palmer, which is where I met my wife.
BH: So you went from here to Lamar, and then came back?
AW: Yeah, and then I finished my degree at CSU. My degree is in finance. I worked in finance for a long time, and then I was director of tennis for the city [of Colorado Springs], and I was running that while I was an assistant here at CC. Then, the head coach left and I got the job.
BH: So head tennis coach was not what you had in mind when you were working towards your finance degree?
AW: No, not at all. I was kind of a classic tennis burnout. I played three years of DI tennis and then came back to Colorado and got roped back into tennis in a weird way, and was like, “Why did I ever leave this?” I was sick of sitting in my office all day, so this job is much better for me.
BH: Do you have any stories from your time as director of tennis for the Springs?
AW: So there’s tall umpire chairs at Memorial Park and we had like three of those, and we hardly ever used them. But most facilities don’t have chairs. So I walk up one morning, and a guy must’ve had chain links and two padlocks. So I roll up and see a guy in a tent on the court, and he chained and padlocked the gates so I couldn’t get in. And on top of it he had turned over the chair umpire, a lot of it was wood, and he just broke off all the wood and started a fire right in the middle of one of the courts and burned a hole in it. And it’s the showcase courts, the ones where everybody parks their cars and walks up. Those are the ones they see, and I’ve got a homeless guy burning a hole in the tennis court as I’m trying to teach kids.
BH: You went from playing DI to coaching DIII. Was that a weird transition to make?
AW: The expectations that we had as DI athletes were very different than DIII. And Lamar academically versus CC is completely different; we’re not all about wins and losses [at CC], we want them to bring positive energy, take control of the things they can control.
BH: You’ve taught and coached at a lot of different age levels. What’s your favorite age group to coach?
AW: That’s a good question. It kind of depends. My kids, I loved it when they were really small, and could barely hold a racket. But when we do the groups, a lot of times it’s just babysitting with those 4-year-olds. They’re not getting tennis out of it, but we’re teaching sports skills in a tennis setting. So I do like that, but I had a—I think the guy was 87—in a beginner tennis group at Memorial and he would just bounce question after question and he was still very interested in mastering tennis. And I was like, “man, I hope I’m like this when I’m 87!” I like this [college] age group though because they can get much better. Practicing day after day for a couple hours a day, that’s where you get better and better at something, and that’s probably most gratifying of all.
Thanks Coach Weber, and best of luck to the CC tennis programs next weekend! I can’t wait to see what happens when these Texas teams try hitting tennis balls at elevation.