The Iowa State women’s tennis team has a new captain at the helm.

His name is Boomer Saia, and he is one of the nation’s brightest young coaches.

Iowa State may be his first head job, but Saia is already pretty familiar with the Big 12. He volunteered for the Kansas women’s tennis team from 2010-2014 and was an assistant coach for the Oklahoma program from 2014-2016. Both programs reached the top-35 in the country during his tenure.

When the Iowa State job became open after Armando Espinosa’s contract wasn’t renewed, Saia said it caught his attention.

“I saw the job was released, I asked colleagues about the job and I put my name in the hat and now here we are,” Saia said. “I see Iowa State as a place where you can win at. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and time on the road recruiting, but I believe we can be a very good program.”

The enthusiastic Saia is known as a strong recruiter, helping the Red Raiders sign the second-ranked class in the country in 2018. Saia recently was an assistant for one season at Vanderbilt as well, gaining experience in a very successful program.

While an assistant at Vanderbilt, the Commodores’ won the SEC regular season and conference tournament championships and reached the Final Four.

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The Iowa State Tennis team meets between double and single matches on April 23. Iowa State fell 0-4 to Oklahoma.

At Texas Tech, the Lady Raiders finished second in the Big 12 and made an appearance in the Elite Eight last season. The Lady Raiders finished in the top-15 in the country.

“The girls at Vanderbilt and Texas Tech were very successful because of their hard work and how invested they were,” Saia said. “The girls’ passion for the showed in how they played.

“The entire program was very successful because of the leadership from the coaches and the upperclassmen.”

For Saia, he doesn’t think that the transition for him moving from Lubbock, Texas to Ames will be that difficult for him.

“I’m from Kansas so I’m pretty familiar with the Midwest, and Ames is very similar to Lubbock in terms of it being a great college town,” Saia said.

Despite poor performances in recent years, Saia sees potential success for the Iowa State tennis program going forward.

“I’m optimistic about the teams’ future because the girls started to peak at the end of the year,” Saia said. “The matches were a lot closer at the end of the season than they were at the beginning of the season.

“The team has a lot of good pieces in place.”

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tennis vs oklahoma

Regina Espindola returns a serve. Espindola and her partner Erin Freeman played no. 3 doubles against Oklahoma on April 21 at Forker Tennis Courts. No. 3 doubles went on to lose to Oklahoma, 5-7. 

Saia plans on building a program that can reach their max potential on and off the tennis court.

“I want the Iowa State women’s tennis program to be known for flat-out competing, and being as good as can possibly be on the tennis court, in the classroom and in the community,” Saia said.

After Iowa State’s 9-17 record in 2017-18, Saia will have his work cut out for him to get the Cyclones on a path to success.

(2) comments

Jane Croteau

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