Slug Roots Run Deep
Dear Slug Family and Friends,
I remember my first visit to UC Santa Cruz, during my senior year of high school. I was travelling up and down the coast visiting schools and tennis programs with my mom and wrapped up my last college visit with intentions of meeting and hopefully impressing, coach Bob Hansen.
At 6:00 am on a Monday morning, I drove up to the east field house and met with Bob. Coffee cup in hand, we walked to the racquetball courts to check out one of his teams’ infamous morning workouts. As he began to talk to me about the history and some of the success stories behind “Slug Tennis,” I saw immediately what made this program special. As we sat and chatted, I watched players of his team engage in a training session with a kind of intensity that I had never seen before. What struck me even more was the fact that they were doing so amidst jokes, smiles, and laughter. They were actually enjoying what they were doing and pushing each other in a way that was remarkable to see. Guys like Brian Casey, Thomas Oechel, Danny Kim, and Nick Cunningham were all showing me what it meant to be a Slug. That day ended with a slap on the butt from Bob as he called me a “hoss.” I was sold.
I have seen Bob Hansen positively affect the lives of more people over the past ten years than I could possibly count. His ability to see the potential in every person he comes across along with the commitment to make that his focus is why he is able to work his magic. He does this with the utmost level of patience and the understanding that change isn’t easy and can only happen in an environment of support and nourishment. For the past 32 years, Bob has been the conductor behind what we all have come to know as “Slug Tennis,” a program where embracing the journey en route to a national championship overrides the winning of that national championship itself. A place where “team” and “family” aren’t just words but more of a daily practice, and where putting aside ones personal aspirations in order to contribute to the common goal is the number one priority. It is here where learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable is the routine. This is the program of gratitude, integrity, and most of all no regrets.
I believe whole-heartedly in the Slug Tennis program and the profound impact it has on people. This is why I have chosen to take over as the new Head Men’s Tennis Coach at UC Santa Cruz. I want to continue contributing to Slug Tennis, and to share all that Bob and Slug Tennis have taught me. Having been a part of four championship teams, one as a player, and three as a coach, I am exceptionally thrilled with the goal of winning a national championship. At the same time, I also understand that winning a championship is merely the byproduct of so much more, and not every year will end with a trophy in hand. To get to work with these young men, day in and day out and share in their experiences as student-athletes, is an incredibly exciting prospect, and one that I anticipate.
This leaves me here speaking to you with admiration and appreciation because you are Slug Tennis. You are the Slug family. The richness of this program lies not only in its numbers but in the quality of its connections, unbreakable by time, distance, or generations. I am thrilled to be entering this journey with all of you at my side and commit to doing the very best job I possibly can. Thank you so much for your support and let’s keep this Slug train rolling!
Coach Bryce “Bird” Parmelly