If you thought the 2020 season was crazier for Cowboy tennis than 2021, think again.
Feb. 1 was the day Cowboy tennis changed for an unforeseen amount of time.
Jay Udwadia, the Cowboy tennis head coach since 2012, announced his leave of absence from the team.
Scoville ‘Sco’ Jenkins took over as interim head coach, who has been the assistant since 2018.
“We put a big emphasis on dealing with adversity,” Emile Hudd said. “We knew the season would be like no other, I think we knew that there were some things going on with Jay and his personal life, but it was more the best of luck to your family and wish us the best of luck for our season. We all know that family comes first at the end of the day.”
Jenkins said he and Udwadia would often talk about family life during the season before the decision was made by Udwadia to take care of his family.
“We can have this great season and everybody does well, but if you don’t have your stuff right at home or your kids need you, your wife needs you, none of this really matters at all, none of it,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins was previously an assistant coach at Kennesaw State, the University of Washington and Wisconsin.
Even though the players have all the faith in Jenkins, the new interim head coach wants to constantly communicate with his players.
“I’ve been experimenting with what we can do together on court and the biggest thing that I’m excited about is these guys, we really trust each other, coaches and players,” Jenkins said. “With that, they trust that they know that I have the team’s best interests. I’m a person where I don’t know everything, I don’t act like I know everything and I want their feedback on stuff.”
Jenkins is looking forward to the season even though he knows it will be a different position for him.
“There’s going to be pressure, the eyes are on me, but this is a great group of guys,” Jenkins said. “They really want to do well, not just for themselves, but for OSU and their teammates.”
With a new role, “head coach Jenkins” will be different from “assistant coach Jenkins.”
“I told them, ‘Guys, I’m going to coach you a lot tougher,’” Jenkins said. “On the court, don’t take anything personal. It’s not against you, it’s just because I want you to be a great player, and that’s all that is.”
Jenkins also comes from a background of playing some of the best tennis players in the world, such as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
The way he makes his past experience relate to his players now is simple: do your best.
“Just compete your hardest, that’s all you have to expect here,” Jenkins said. “I have no expectations for you on winning and losing, but I expect you to be a great teammate, I expect you to give 100% on everything you do, I expect you to be respectful, and I respect you to go hard at everything you do.”