After Head Coach Ed Paige made the decision to retire from the men’s and women’s tennis program last July, the athletic department at Fairfield had just a few months to find a replacement for the coach who had left such a remarkable legacy on the program.
This September, Fairfield finally found the coach Fairfield had been looking for. On Sept. 9, the athletic department announced that Jeff Bricker would become the head coach of both the men’s and women’s tennis teams.
Due to his vast amount of experience, Bricker was considered a perfect fit for the program, according to fairfieldstags.com.
At 11 years old, Bricker was already spending seven to eight hours a day on the court. Brought up as a student of the game, Bricker went on to play at Sacred Heart University, where he served as captain the last three years of his college career. He received the Coaches Award in 2000 for the “greatest contribution to the tennis program,” according to fairfieldstags.com
“After playing in high school and college, I really enjoyed tennis and really wanted to make it a career,” said Bricker.
Shortly after graduating, he went on to coach at Albertus Magnus before he became head coach at the University of New Haven. In three years, Bricker was able to build up the program and make it a competitive Division 2 program.
Before taking on the Chargers of New Haven for their fourth season, Fairfield contacted Bricker about the opening as men’s and women’s head coach and he decided to further his coaching career with the Division 1 program here at Fairfield.
Bricker will be coaching both the men’s and women’s programs, whereas in the past, he only coached the women’s team at New Haven. Bricker is looking forward to the challenge in front of him.
“It’s a lot more work, but it’s fun,” said Bricker. “My background for the last three years was coaching women, but I’m certainly enjoying it.”
Currently, Bricker has many goals set for the team, one being hiring an assistant coach to help coach both the men’s and women’s team. However, even without an assistant, Bricker has added that Fairfield has been a fresh start because the team is very independent, making them different from teams he has coached in the past.
“There’s just a little more desire. There’s obviously a little bit of a higher talent level which helps, but they want it and they want to work,” said Bricker. “They work hard, they want to listen, they get it and from a tennis standpoint, it makes it real easy to coach because I’m not out there telling them what we have to do.”
Bricker added that he wants to continue to build the legacy that Paige left behind by taking the tennis program even farther than they have been in the past.
“There’s weekly goals and daily goals, but the ultimate goal is the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship,” stated Bricker. “My goal is to continue that build that Ed Paige left off with and really start to take us to more of a regional power setting where we could play with some of the big boys and really compete.”
With the help of his captains, Bricker is hoping to make a success of the program in this upcoming season, his inaugural one with the Stags.