March 2017

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115 F or University of Iowa men's tennis assis- tant coach Matt Hagan, transitioning from student-athlete to coach was easier than he anticipated. Hagan was a member of the Hawkeye tennis team from 2012-15 and currently sits second on Iowa's career doubles wins list with 68. He was asked to fill in as assistant coach temporarily when then as- sistant Ty Schaub departed for San Diego. "When (Iowa head coach) Ross Wilson asked me to fill in, I thought it would be a great way to see if I enjoy coaching," said Hagan. Hagan hadn't thought of coaching as a career op- tion until he stepped into the volunteer position in the fall of 2015. "at first semester was great and when Ross asked me to stay on and be a volunteer the next semester I said 'of course,' because staying at Iowa is a great way to start my coaching career." e former Big Ten Indoor doubles champion played for Wilson during his junior and senior campaigns. He said the experience helped him transition and made it easier to develop relation- ships with student-athletes on the team. "Playing under Ross for two years makes it easier for me to relate to the guys," Hagan said. "With that said, we aren't as close as we were when I was an athlete because I want to make sure they're do- ing what they need to do in practice." With almost two years of coaching under his belt, Hagan has picked up a thing or two from Wilson's style. He says he is more assertive now when he is pushing the Hawkeyes to be their best. "Ross is still more assertive than I am and likes the intensity to be high during practice," Hagan said. "I will get on the guys if they aren't taking things as serious as they should be." Outside of practices, Hagan says the biggest cul- ture shock was the job's required traveling. "Two weeks aer I was hired as assistant, coach Ross sent me to Greece," he said. He has also traveled to Demark, Sweden, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Switzerland. "It's an unbelievable experience, but we're not in those countries just to travel," Hagan said. "We're recruiting the best players in the world to come to Iowa and make our program better." As a mentor, Wilson's guidance has been crucial for Hagan as he navigates an aspect of collegiate tennis that hadn't crossed his mind as a player. He is still learning the do's and don'ts of recruiting at the college level. "I've had a ton of questions about NCAA rules, but I'm never afraid to ask Ross," Hagan said. "He has done a great job of giving me guidance while I figure everything out." As for his coaching future, Hagan says he is solely focused on Iowa. "I want to be here for a few more years," he said. "Starting my career at Iowa has been such a privi- lege. I still have a lot to learn from Ross and this program."

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