Q & A With Coach: Gretchen Rush Magers - Women’s Tennis

Gretchen Rush Magers
Gretchen Rush Magers

Gretchen Rush Magers is in the midst of her first season as head coach of the ninth-ranked CMS women's tennis team and she took a few minutes out of her busy schedule recently to talk about her experiences as a player and why she chose to coach at CMS. Rush Magers played 10 years on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour and has played in the U.S. Open, French Open and Wimbledon. She represented the United States in the 1984 Olympics and has also represented the U.S. in the World University Games, the Pan American Games and the Senior ITF World Championships.

What made you want to come to CMS and coach tennis?

Gretchen Rush Magers:
I have wanted to coach collegiate tennis for a good part of my life. I dreamed of playing tennis at Stanford, playing pro tennis and coaching tennis. This job at CMS came out of nowhere and is a dream come true for me. I feel pretty blessed and lucky to have gotten the job and to be here. After coming up and seeing the school and the tradition of academic and athletic excellence, it just seemed like a really great fit.

You have played in the U.S. Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics - what was your most memorable experience as a player?

I don't even know if it was playing. The most memorable moment of my athletic career or feeling that I had arrived was during the 1984 Olympics during the opening ceremony. We got on the bus and were going to the L.A. Coliseum and there were all these superstar athletes there for the U.S. We were with them for hours, getting ready for the ceremony and waiting to meet President Reagan. I was thinking "really, is this really happening to me?" We had a long wait since the host nation is the last nation to enter the stadium. When we came into the stadium, the ovation of 80,000 people cheering for the U.S. team is something I will never forget.

What is it like to represent your country?

I have had the opportunity to represent the country a lot, more so in senior tennis and junior tennis. It is always an honor, even to go and play for a 45-and-over team. Last year, the world championships were in San Diego and wearing a U.S.A. jersey in my hometown was something that I was pretty proud of. It is always a privilege because I am so grateful to have been born in America and to have had the opportunity to travel the world with tennis. We have so many privileges here, and we don't even realize it. To have an American flag or the letters U.S.A on my jersey whether as a16-year-old traveling to Australia and playing on a team or playing on a team now almost in my fifties, it always makes me so proud of my country and being born here. It's an incredible privilege.

How have your experiences as a player transitioned into coaching?

It's wonderful to coach and it is a complete privilege to coach and be around young people. I have wanted to do this for a long time. What I try to bring most to coaching is for the student-athletes here at CMS to own their tennis. It's their game. I want them to enjoy it first of all and I want them to take responsibility for their match play, take responsibility for their diet and for their off-court training as I did. It's their game and I am here to teach them what I know and facilitate. What I try to instill in our tennis players is that tennis is fun and if it's not fun, we are doing something wrong.

When you are not involved with tennis, what are you up to?

I have to say I am an intermediate to advanced beginning player of guitar and I love music, going to concerts and listening to music. I also love the outdoors. To have the wilderness so close to us here in Claremont is just stunning to me. I am also very passionate about my friends and family and spending time with them.

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