Women's Tennis: Brogan Builds Winners On and Off the Court

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When Jan Brogan took the Cal women's tennis coaching job in 1978, the program had just entered Division 1 intercollegiate competition. The trophy shelves were bare and the program was relatively unknown outside of Berkeley.

Jan Brogan

How things have changed since then.

Today, the name Jan Brogan is synonymous with Cal women's tennis. In her 24 years, the Bears have risen out of obscurity to become one of the elite tennis programs in the nation.

Fittingly, the hardware has accumulated on the trophy shelves.

Her accolades include a National Coach of the Year award in 1990 and being named Pac-10 Coach of the Year six times.

Brogan has produced three NCAA championship doubles teams. Amy Jensen, who set an NCAA record by being a part of all three of those doubles teams, is now an assistant coach.

The early 1980s were Brogan's age of dominance. From 1980 to 1985, Brogan's teams went undefeated in conference play and made the NCAA tournament all five times.

Since then, her teams have not broken stride, making 20 NCAA appearances in all.

"She loves the game and teaches you what she loves," says Cal sophomore Jieun Jacobs of Brogan. "It's an awesome experience playing for her."

W hile many know Brogan as the winningest female coach in women's tennis, few realize that she is the fourth winningest tennis coach overall.

"It still happens where very qualified women apply for women's head coaching jobs but they are given to men," Brogan says. "Most (women) aren't given the chance."

Despite the gender inequity, Brogan continues to defy convention.

Not surprisingly, her coaching philosophy also goes against the grain. In a sport that has always been designed for the individual, Brogan embraces a team philosophy.

"It is always the most special for me to see my teams play as a 'Championship Team,'" says Brogan. "To (the team) this means playing together, for one another, for the pride of the program."

In a day and age when money comes with success, Brogan insists there's more to athletics than the "W."

"Many programs focus on just the wins, but I focus on their growth and

development as a person not just as an athlete," Brogan notes.

Brogan's philosophy has translated into wins. She has a 445-180 (.712) dual-match record.

All this in the ultra-competitive Pac-10 that features national powerhouses like UCLA, USC and Stanford.

Despite all the accolades, there is still one accomplishment that has eluded Brogan's grasp-a team national title.

While this year's team may still be a couple of years away from making a legitimate run, don't expect Brogan to be any easier on her players.

"Our coach is one of the toughest coaches in college tennis," Jacobs says. "She really raises your level and makes you perform at your best."

This year's squad went 12-9 overall and 3-5 in the Pac-10. The Bears endured a slew of injuries and illnesses, but overcame them and will host NCAA Regional competition May 11.

"This season's squad is tough and resilient," Brogan says. "I think this team is just amazing for their ability to pull things together when things get tough."

During the Bears' match against Fresno State March 16, Brogan collapsed and was carried away in an ambulance. In what would later be diagnosed as a mild heart condition, Brogan missed Cal's March 26 match against Texas, the first in her 24 years.

Even while the ambulance was taking her to the hospital, Brogan was still more concerned about her team than her personal health.

"I knew how important that match result was and I didn't want to be a distraction," Brogan says.

It is that type of competitiveness that has kept Brogan in the game for so long.

"As long as I still love what I do I will do it," she says.

Brogan has a Masters in sports psychology and has thought about completing her PhD in psychology.

When she is not coaching, Brogan teaches a sports psychology class for student-athletes on campus.

"I love (and) enjoy teaching those who come to learn," Brogan says. "Whether it is in my class or at practice, I get juiced by a student who is excited about learning."

Many of Brogan's future plans are dependent on her health. Since her heart incident on March 16, she has been reluctant to mention any long-term goals when it comes to coaching.

While Brogan is a successful coach, she feels that her role as a teacher and mentor is first and foremost.

"We have too many coaches and teachers who would be more effective doing something else because it is not a job," Brogan says. "It is a profession which shapes and leaves a lasting impact on the lives of those who come to learn."


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