The Allegheny College men’s and women’s tennis teams welcomed a new, yet familiar, face to its coaching staff this season.
Taylor Coffman, former assistant coach, was promoted to head coach this month following the announcement that former head coach Jared Luteran would serve as director of recreation and facilities.
Coffman, a Texas native, played in NCAA Division II at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. While at Midwestern State University, she totaled 100 career combined wins, making her only one of six to ever do so for the Mustangs.
As a two-year captain, Coffman was a three-time All-Lone Star Conference honoree, including two for doubles and one for singles. In 2014, Coffman and teammate Kayla Casey ranked 20th in the ITA Division II national doubles during her junior year and placed 17th in her senior year. Coffman and the Mustangs earned two Lone Star Conference titles, three consecutive South Central regional championships, and three trips to the NCAA Division II national tournament.
Between Coffman’s sophomore and senior seasons, the Mustangs earned a combined record of 59-18. In 2015, Coffman led the team to its first ever Elite Eight appearance.
She served as an assistant coach for the Mustang’s women’s team while finishing her degree in mass communications in 2016.
“Prior to arriving at Allegheny, I worked in sports information,” Coffman said, “(which was) a different career choice (than coaching), but I definitely wanted to get back into coaching because of the connections you make with the athletes and (the ability) to mentor them, not only on the tennis court, but explaining how tennis can relate to life — that’s my favorite part of it all.”
Last year, Coffman served as an assistant coach at Allegheny — focusing on the women’s team while also assisting with the men’s team.
This year, Coffman hopes to build upon Luteran’s legacy with her new perspective and ideas.
“Coach Luteran (has done) a great job with the teams the last 16 years,” Coffman said. “It was great to work underneath him and learn from him. I hope that I can continue to contribute to the legacy of Allegheny tennis that he’s left here. He put a tradition of winning and pride in the programs, and I’m hoping that I can continue to contribute to that and provide a fresh voice for the team.”
Coffman said her main goals for this year are to be competitive, both regionally and nationally.
“We play in one of the toughest conferences in Division III,” Coffman said. “I feel (as though) a lot of people don’t realize that. The (North Coast Athletic Conference) is very good at tennis. If we can stay competitive in our conference, we can be competitive nationally.”
Coffman recognized that her first year as head coach will bring challenges, but that from these challenges will come many learning opportunities.
“The team is very supportive; they’re ready to go,” Coffman said. “Any challenges that I may face will be administrative and not on the court because that is where I am most comfortable.”
Coffman is currently working on completing her master’s degree in sports administration, which she hopes to finish by the end of the year.
“I’m really excited that I get to make decisions (for the teams),” Coffman said. “I got to work with them last year, so I’m even more excited to continue working with them because they’re a great group of athletes.”