Caroline Price had a standout Collegiate career as a player at the University of North Carolina, but she never thought about a career of a coach back then. Suddenly, her father Mark Price (Charlotte men’s basketball head coach) called her to join the 49ers tennis squad when a volunteer coaching position opened there. She said yes and in her words that was one of the smartest things she ever did, getting a chance to help young Collegiate players. In addition, Price had the opportunity to work with Danielle Collins and to have a 11-week USTA coaching experience, which was precious to her.
Question: How has your father helped you in your foray into coaching?
Answer: I’m so lucky; I have the best mentor of them all in my father. I look up to him so much. I’ve been able to pick his brain on developing a culture and the player-coach relationship. I have dinner with my dad almost every night and we’re always talking about sports.
Q: One of the interesting things to develop from your time in the USTA Fellowship Program in Professional Coaching was that you spent time working with two-time NCAA Champion, and Virginia Cavalier, Danielle Collins. What was that experience like coaching someone that played at a rival ACC institution?
A: I grew up with Danielle, she’s a year younger than me. We liked each other, but I wouldn’t say that we were friends, but had a mutual respect. For part of the fellowship, I wound up working with the USTA national college team in Kentucky with Kelcy (McKenna, University of Wisconsin women’s tennis head coach), and worked with Danielle and (Francesca) Di Lorenzo. Danielle and I got along really well and she was looking to have someone travel with her that summer, so Stephen (Amritraj, USTA Director of College Tennis), Danielle and I all talked and I started traveling with her.
Stephen would give me guidance and I’d take that and give it to Danielle and be there for her during her matches. I saw her get her first Top 100 win. She was so supportive of me and we stay in touch. For me, when I started the fellowship, I wasn’t confident as a coach and she was a big part of me gaining that confidence. She won NCAA’s twice, and for her to listen to me and appreciate my input, for me developing into a coach, that was big.
Q: You also had a chance to attend the first women’s symposium, which featured the likes of such greats as Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Pam Shriver. The symposium discussed ways to increase women’s involvement in tennis coaching. Any suggestions?
A: I think it’d be huge to reach out to senior college tennis players and invite them to the symposium, because they may be like me, and not know that coaching is something they want to do. After being a part of (the symposium), you are empowered as a female coach in a male-dominated sport. I believe more women could get involved, but they need to be exposed to it.