Gaston excited for role as Missouri tennis head coach

As Missouri tennis ended its best season in a decade last year, the Tigers get ready for a season full of potential as the Gaston era begins.
Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

After serving as an associate coach over the summer, Missouri tennis’ Colt Gaston was officially named head coach for the program Sept. 3. With eight years of prior assistant coaching experience, Gaston is looking to bring in new success to the team.

“It [is] a surreal moment,” Gaston said. “It was awesome to go through and see all the support from the community of Columbia and really just the staff from the athletics. It’s just awesome to see that they care and they’re pulling for you.”

Before launching his coaching career, Gaston played with Louisiana State’s men’s tennis program where he was a four-year letterwinner and earned Second-Team All-Southeastern Conference Honors in 2006 and SEC Honor Roll in 2007 and 2008.

With an impressive collegiate tennis career at LSU under his belt, Gaston served as a High Performance coach for Weil Tennis Academy, a private instructor for IMG Tennis Academy, and a traveling coach for players who ranked within Association of Tennis Professionals/Women’s Tennis Association’s top 100 list, thus growing his coaching résumé.

By 2014, the Georgia native landed his first collegiate coaching position at Furman University where he served as men’s tennis assistant coach. Gaston helped the Paladins’ in their 2014-15 season, and the team finished the year with a 10-16 overall record.

Gaston joined Missouri tennis’ coaching staff back in May 2015 where he coached alongside former head coach, Sasha Schmid. That following season, the Tigers concluded their season with a 16-12 overall record, rebounding from the previous year and establishing Missouri tennis’ fourth-most wins in a single season.

“Being a head coach now, [Gaston] really fits the role,” junior player Brianna Lashway said. “He’s really positive and if you miss or mess up, he doesn’t put pressure on you for it.”

After assisting the Tigers to an outstanding season last year, Gaston is ready to take on his first season as head coach.

“I got a group of girls that are very hungry,” Gaston said. “They want to change things to make them special and that’s what really gets me excited everyday as a coach.”

Even with new talent on board, Gaston’s presence is already making an impact.

“I love everything [Coach Gaston] brings to the table,” junior transfer Amina Ismail said. “His coaching style, how he is on and off the court and even when he was recruiting me, I just loved him right off the bat.”

Gaston begins his head coach campaign this weekend as Missouri tennis hosts the Mizzou Invitational in Kansas City. Significant players Bea Machado Santos and Cassidy Spearman return to the lineup this season along with newcomer Ismail and freshmen Mackenzy Middlebrooks and Tate Schroeder, who were ranked in TennisRecruiting.Net’s Top 50.

Edited by Madi McVan | mmcvan@themaneater.com

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