Head Coach Brett Ross transforms Georgia State Tennis in two years

Brett Ross, men’s tennis coach, photographed helping out on the court at a tennis practice. Photo submitted by Georgia State Athletics, Bill Kallenberg

Men’s tennis coach Brett Ross is one of the newest coaches at Georgia State, but he has plenty of experience when it comes to a game of tennis. Ross has been at Georgia State for two years now, and in his short time here, he has helped turn the Panthers into consistent winners. The Panthers have had a winning record in each of Ross’ first two seasons with the team.

Ross is a native of Atlanta. He attended Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia and said he loves the opportunity that he has been given to be able to coach at home in Atlanta.

“It’s awesome! I love the city of Atlanta. I really like bringing recruits here and being able to show off the city.  I feel an extra motivation to build a great program here because it’s the ‘Hometown School,’” Ross said. “It’s obviously great to be close to my family.  It’s also really nice to reconnect with the whole tennis community here that I grew up with.”

How it all started

Ross got his start in the game of tennis when he was just five years old. His parents would take him to their matches and he soon became obsessed with the game.

“My parents were recreational players and they started taking me to one tennis lesson per week. I became obsessed with hitting the ball. My dad reinforced the wall in our garage with an extra piece of wood so I could hit against the wall all day long,” Ross said.

While Ross was at Centennial, he helped lead them to four state championships, and from there here went on to play collegiality for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While at Wake Forest, Ross went lettered in all four of his years and moved on to make an immediate impact. During his freshman year, he won 30 singles matches, his career-high for singles wins.

During his sophomore season, he won 26 doubles matches, which was his career high. Ross finished with 83 career singles wins and 68 career doubles wins. Those numbers were good enough for him to finish in the top 10 in both categories for wins in a season and career.

Despite the wins, Ross said that those weren’t his favorite moments.

“My favorite memory has to be all the time I spent with my teammates.  Your teammates become your family and you spend almost every minute of the day with them so we shared some great times over the course of four years,” Ross said.

After his college career, Ross went on to play on the ITF Pro Circuit. While on the circuit, Ross ranked in the top 500 for doubles matches and the top 600 for singles matches. While his time wasn’t very long-lived, he did enjoy his time on the circuit.

“I loved the grind of it.  It’s almost like having your own little business where you are in charge of organizing the travel, setting up practices, and putting in the hours on the court,” Ross said. I love to travel and I enjoyed seeing all different kinds of places.  I learned a lot about the game and what it takes to compete at highest level of tennis.

Coaching Begins

Ross finished his time on the pro-circuit, and was then offered a chance to return to his alma mater and coach. He turned the program around in a single year, helping them finish with a ranking of No. 19 in the country. He credits the time he spent as a coach there as the reason it was so easy to transition to being a coach with Georgia State.

“Great mentors. I learned from the Head Coaches there the amount of time and effort it takes to build a great program.  I’m proud of what we accomplished there and I keep in touch with those mentors on a daily basis,” Ross said.

Ross was an assistant at Wake Forest from 2009-2014 when he was hired as the coach at Georgia State. The move to head coach wasn’t a hard one for Ross.

“I didn’t think it was hard, I felt like I had some great people in the administration here who helped me acclimate to GSU.  The first few months was definitely a lot of work, but it was fun to build something new and put my own stamp on everything,” he said.  I also have had two great assistants who are good friends of mine that have really made things easy on me.

Ross has been successful at Georgia State and hopes to build consistent winners at the university and in competition. He said his favorite thing about coaching is the competition.

“The feeling you get before coaching a big match or maybe during a big point at the end of the match is the same type of adrenaline rush you get while you are playing,” Ross said.

It is likely he’ll continue to get many more of those adrenaline rushes in his time at Georgia State.