Tennis is not a part-time job now that the Griffons have their first full-time head coach in school history.
Recently hired head coach Chris Canady brings a wide variety of skills and experiences to both the team and the athletic department.
Canady played and coached Division II tennis in the MIAA conference for Southwest Baptist University. He is also the co-owner and general manager of Dynamic Correspondence Sports Training in Bethel Park, Pa., as well as the director of high performance for Upper St. Clair Tennis Development in Pittsburgh.
The Griffons’ former coach, Tom Smith, agreed to coach the team while the athletic department pursued the perfect and permanent fit for the head coaching job. According to Western’s athletic director, Kurt McGuffin, Canady was the right person for the position.
“When you are looking at a person for a job you look at fit,” McGuffin said. “Canady is from southwest Missouri; he played in our conference and has Division I coaching experience.”
Although Canady is very involved with various aspects of tennis around Pennsylvania, there are professional and personal aspects that led him to Missouri Western.
“Professionally, I wanted to get back into collegiate tennis, but I was waiting for the perfect fit,” Canady said. “[Kurt] McGuffin demonstrated a level of commitment and professionalism that made me very confident in the direction of Western tennis and the athletic department as a whole. I also want to be closer to my family, especially my newborn baby niece, Kate.”
Canady will be using his experiences and resources to help shape the Griffons for the upcoming and future seasons.
“Smith did a good job recruiting while he was there, but the main focus will be recruiting athletes to compete at a high level,” Canady said. “To do that, I will be recruiting internationally, which is all about contacts.”
McGuffin also believes that Canady’s resources will be an advantage for the team.
“He has many connections both at home, in Division I and internationally,” McGuffin said. “Canady will also have access to four and a half scholarships, instead of the previous amount of three, allowing him to extend more scholarship money to students, specifically those who are international or out-of-state.”
The Griffons are excited about the new coach and what he can bring to the team, including Ceara Boldridge.
“He has much more experience with the game and will be able to push us in a winning direction,” Boldridge said. “Since he has played the game, he will also understand how to help players with the mental aspect of tennis.”
Although the regular season does not begin until the spring, Canady already has goals set for the year.
“The number one goal is to change the culture and direction of the team, which Coach Smith has started, by creating an environment that raises the level of expectations,” Canady said.
Coach Canady will begin changing Griffon culture once the season begins against the Maryville University Saints in February during the spring semester.