From the Classroom to the Court, Coach Deb Chase Prioritizes “Clear Values” and “Strong Leaders”

While Andover Girls Tennis Head Coach Deb Chase grew up playing many sports, the community and intensity within tennis was what led her to pursue the sport further. Chase began coaching clinics in her high school summers before proceeding to Colgate University to pursue collegiate tennis. She then came to Andover in 2007 to coach tennis and teach English. 

Chase said, “When I graduated from college and started teaching at a boarding school called Blair Academy, I was going to be doing what I do now, which is teaching English and coaching. It was awesome because I was just teaching on the tennis court. I feel like I’m coaching in the classroom at times. I was ready to be done with competitive playing at that time and ready to work on my skills and thinking about what it meant to be a coach in my early twenties.”

New to the team, Kendra Tomala ’26 appreciates how involved Chase is in practices. According to Tomala, Chase has the ability to fulfill the needs of both the whole team and individual players. 

“My first impression of her, she’s a great coach. I love her as a coach. She is really supportive, and like our Captains, she leads our practices and drills or points, whatever we’re doing. She makes sure to be very clear on what we’re doing for practices and matches, and she gives really helpful advice if we’re struggling on something or what we need to work on. And I think our Captains work really well together with her,” said Tomala.

Co-Captain Ananya Madduri ’23 shared a similar sentiment to Tomala, highlighting the productivity of the practices that Chase leads. 

“[Coach Chase is] so experienced. She led this team for years and years and years, so she knows really how to bring a team together, how to get us to work together in ways that are both efficient and effective, and she makes our practices super directed. She is focusing on developing different skills for everyone. She’s focused on how do we make practices as effective as possible because the more direct the practice, the better it is,” said Madduri.

According to Lena Ciganer ’25, Chase creates an environment that encourages constant communication and a strong coach-player relationship. Ciganer also mentioned how Chase works with her Co-Captains to ensure everyone feels a level of comfort within the team.

“Maybe not yet the new players on the team, but to all the returning players, [Chase is] such an important figure to us on campus. She’s such a trustworthy adult. You can always trust her with anything. You can talk to her about your problems with tennis or school or personal problems or anything. If she feels like something is wrong with someone or thinks that they need help or wants to reach out to them or whatever, she’s also very communicative with the Captains. And they always make everyone on the team feel very comfortable and [makes sure they are] able to enjoy the sport,” said Ciganer.

Chase’s wish for what she can give the team goes far beyond this season. She discussed how learning about commitment and teamwork through the sport of tennis can be applied to any aspect of life. 

“I hope that they see and learn the value of teamwork and the value of what it means to be committed to something, and in this case for us, it’s committed to the tennis team. But that is transferable to lots of other parts of their life. Because they are learning how to take the lessons that we work on the court and employ them throughout the way they carry themselves off the court as well,” said Chase.