Men’s Tennis Head Coach Brett Bernstein has been selected as a Team Texas Staff coach for a junior tennis tournament, which will take place next month.
Bernstein will help coach United States Tennis Association (USTA) 16s’ zone team championship July 7-11 in the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb of Southlake.
A former UT Pan American standout student-athlete, Bernstein, finished his first season in charge of UTRGV tennis in April. The tennis season came to an end during the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Brownsville following a defeat to New Mexico State University.
The coach will continue to work toward preparing for next year’s tennis season, but will also fit in work with Texas junior players during the under-16 zonal tournament. At the tournament in Southlake, boys and girls will compete in singles, doubles and mixed doubles play.
Bernstein’s memories of this tournament were positive, and he said the competition that puts states head-to-head is a good twist that breaks up the status quo of a regular tournament.
“It’s kind of what all the top juniors do,” he said. “This event is one of the more fun events that they put on through the year. They take the top 24 juniors from the state–Texas will have two teams because there are so many juniors in the area– and face off against other states in the nation.”
Bernstein is no stranger to this tournament. He is an alumnus of USTA junior tournaments as is his counterpart, Women’s Tennis Head Coach Stephanie Wooten-Quijada. Both had successes as junior players and Bernstein is excited for the coaching point of view he’ll now see.
“I actually have a pretty good relationship with our USTA South Texas region down here,” Bernstein said. “The fact that I was a former player in the event, I was so fond of the whole event and atmosphere. I was pretty gung-ho on getting onboard.”
At the time of this interview, in May, the head coach was on the recruiting trail for the UTRGV team for next season. His coaching of Team Texas, however, is not a part of this recruiting effort. College coaches are not allowed to try to lure these high school-age athletes to their program.
“I’m not recruiting but it helps to get our name out there and kind of get a face with some of these players. It helps us to get established within the state with our university growing as fast as it is,” he said.
Bernstein, who was a part of the program at UT Pan American from 2006-2010, has stayed closed to tennis even immediately after finishing his playing career.
“First year out of college I was working at a country club and I was coaching some of the USTA juniors,” he said. “A few of them are now playing Division 1 college tennis. Had a couple state champions that I worked with as well. So it’s not new to me, but it’s been a little while since I dabbled in it.”
It seems like the players under Bernstein’s direction will have some experienced guidance when the USTA tournament comes around in July. Time will tell how Team Texas responds and performs.