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Time Out with Brandon Ralston

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Head Tennis Coach Brandon Ralston
Head Tennis Coach Brandon Ralston
What is your background in tennis?

I started playing tennis when I was about 13 years-old. I fell in love with it immediately. Fortunately, I had a great tennis community available to me in my hometown, Cadillac. They wrapped their arms around me and encouraged me to push my game as far as I could take it. I went on to play at Alma College. I had other career aspirations, but after graduating, I realized that the type of intimate teaching that coaching a tennis team offered me was something I would want to do for the rest of my life. I feel lucky every day to come to work and live out my dream.

How long have you been coaching at UOlivet and what do you like most about coaching here?

I came to Olivet last year. From the moment I got here, it felt like home to me. The people here are so genuine. … I will always be grateful for how welcoming the students, staff, and professors have been to me since I arrived.

Where does your passion for tennis stem from?

I love tennis but my passion is teaching. Tennis just happens to be something that I am qualified to teach. That being said, I love the honesty of tennis. Being an individual sport, it is very easy to decide which of two players is better – tell them to go play each other!

What’s one thing you tell your student-athletes when you see they need to be inspired or reassured that they’ve got what it takes to succeed, whether in their sport or in the classroom?

The best advice I ever got on the tennis court was, “You play your best about 10% of the time. Everyone wins when they’re playing great. The truly great players have to find a way to win when things aren’t going well.” I echo this sentiment to the players all the time. I think it is a great life lesson as well. Being able to persevere when things aren’t going perfectly is a skill that serves tennis players in the classroom and eventually in the workforce.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?

I plan on going back to school. I would love the opportunity to teach literature here at Olivet once I grab another degree or two. As I said, I love it here and can’t think of a better place for me to spend my professional life.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m a diehard NBA fan. I love the Pistons, of course, but I follow the Nuggets, Warriors and Knicks pretty religiously as well. I invite any student to come down and chat hoops with me – I have  a lot to say.

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