“It’s hard to play tennis by yourself, so it teaches you how to cooperate with someone else.”

Bryan Shelton

A member at Haile Plantation Golf & Country Club, Gainesville, Fla., since 2013

BY LOUIS MARROQUIN / PHOTO BY RIKU — Spring 2018

Who he is: As a professional tennis player in the 1990s, he competed on the big stages of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Today, he’s head tennis coach of the University of Florida men’s team.

Coach dreams: Before joining the Gators in 2012, he coached the Georgia Tech women’s tennis team for 13 seasons, leading it to a 2007 national title. “I’d like to win an NCAA title on the men’s side, too. Winning on both the women’s and men’s side would be a pretty special accomplishment.”

How his pro background helps him coach: Shelton recalls losing 10 matches in a row as a pro before turning things around and defeating No. 2 seed Michael Stitch at Wimbledon in 1994. “I talk about some of the things I didn’t do well and how it affected me. Those things tend to resonate more with the guys than a coach just telling them how many great things he did.” 

Formula for winning: “You have to have the right culture, the right talent, and you have to have some luck.”

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