Andres Pedroso is well aware of the accomplishments and legacy Brian Boland built with Virginia tennis. He helped nurture the roots Boland planted as UVA bloomed into the nation’s dominant program after all.
But Pedroso doesn’t see pressure following Boland at Virginia. He sees opportunity.
”I get that question a lot, but it’s such a privilege to be here,” Pedroso said Thursday as he met with media members in Charlottesville for the first time. ”More than pressure, I just feel grateful. I really feel grateful and honored to be here and I think it’s an incredible opportunity.”
That opportunity, of course, is to lead the nation’s premiere men’s tennis program and to hold a new title as director of tennis at UVA to oversee the women’s program as well. On the men’s side, Pedroso inherits a program that has won four of the last five National Championships. The first of those came in 2013 while he worked as the Cavaliers’ Associate Head Coach before he left the program for a private coaching job. Boland finished his UVA career last week with the program’s third straight title. Thai-Son Kwiatkowski also became the third Hoo to win the National Championship in singles.
Beyond the on-court success, the job also offers other perks that Pedroso called “ingredients” toward success. That includes facilities like the Boyd Tinsley Courts indoors at the Boar’s Head Sports Club where he conducted his first interview session with local reporters. It includes a supportive fan base that regularly posts match attendance among the nation’s best college programs. It includes the academic and educational opportunities provided by UVA.
Simply put, he’s taking over a program in tremendous health.
“There’s no excuses here,” Pedroso said. “You need to get after it. You’ve got every resource in the world. You’ve got all the services you need. You’ve got an athletic department that loves tennis, that believes in tennis. You’ve got a community of support that’s been behind this program for over 15 years. It’s an incredible opportunity.”
It’s also an opportunity that arose after an impromptu breakfast years ago with Boland. Pedroso, who played at Duke before becoming a pro, came to Charlottesville to visit a friend that played at Virginia, Huntley Montgomery. Montgomery, who teamed with Brian Vahaly as one of the nation’s top doubles teams during his career, suggested that his friend meet Boland while in town.
At that point, Pedroso had yet to begin a career in coaching as a national coach for USTA Player Development. The two hit it off at breakfast as Pedroso weighed possibly getting back into tennis, but they didn’t speak again for several years. When Boland needed an assistant in 2010, however, he called Pedroso and he joined the Cavaliers for the next four years as the program climbed to new heights.
“I got a call out of nowhere when I was working at the USTA as a men’s national coach and he started talking to me and offered me the job,” Pedroso said. “It worked out and it was great working with him.”
In fact, Pedroso fell in love with the Virginia tennis program and the area. So while he left for a private coaching job with a player that will attend Harvard now that he finished high school, Pedroso remained a fan and supporter of the Hoos. Only a handful of schools would have drawn him back to college coaching, but the No. 1 choice was always clear. So when Boland left Virginia, he quickly made preparations to try for the job.
Now that he’s received the job back at UVA, he’s focused on leading the program and trying to maintain its tremendous success.
“I learned a lot during my four years with Brian and he’s been a mentor to me and taught me a lot about how he runs his system,” Pedroso said. “So I know what it’s taken to win here and I have a very good grasp on that and I’m looking forward to transitioning a lot of that to the women’s program as well. I’ve literally bled orange and blue since I showed up here in 2010 and I love the way that Brian did it. I’m obviously going to put my trademark on it and do things my way, but I’m not going to try to reinvent the wheel. He did a great job.”