Simon Thibodeau, coach of the women’s tennis team at Fresno State, would prefer to recruit in his own backyard, but must look worldwide in order to stay competitive with the top programs in the country.
Only two of the team’s eight players are from California, while the other players come from around the globe, including Canada, India, Ireland and Russia.
“Our first goal is to get California players, but typically the best of those players are taken by the top programs, like Cal-Berkeley, Stanford and UCLA,” Thibodeau said. “If you want to stay competitive, you usually have to get foreign players, because tennis is a worldwide sport and the talent in the US is limited to a few hundred players.”
Thibodeau was a Canadian national coach prior to coming to Fresno. He said the experience with the national team allowed him to travel, where he met other coaches and players, developing connections which help in recruiting...