Jan. 27, 2012
Kiril Tcherveniachki, Tennessee Volunteer 2004-07
"When Sam came to UT, which was my last semester of eligibility, he transformed the whole team with his unmatched motivation, hard work and leadership. The team had never worked that hard and for the first time we truly became a TEAM. Until then we were all individuals doing our own thing. Because of his unparalleled determination and strenuous practices and workouts, I played my best tennis that semester I believe losing only two matches the whole season. Sam has the ability to bring out the nest in you and dig down deeper than you ever have. He instills a relentless determination and attitude to bring out the best in you."
John-Patrick Smith, Tennessee Volunteer 2008-11
"We've got two of the best coaches in the country, hands down. We've got Sam and Chris Woodruff, two coaches who care so much about player development, going to school, as well as future development when you grow up. Having that care factor really helps because you're away from home and not really familiar with your surroundings. When you have people who care so much about you, it's going to make the transition a lot easier."
Matt Brewer, Tennessee Volunteer 2008-10
"My time at Tennessee taught me to be relentless in the pursuit of excellence in both the classroom and on court. The standards required to compete for the coaching staff is in fact a daily struggle; however the rewards have served me well beyond the doors of the tennis center. The best part of being a Vol is knowing that Sam, Woody, Milos, and my teammates past and present are all a dedicated family keeping the winning tradition alive and well."
Justin Hunter, Colorado Buffalo 2000-03
"Sam raised the expectations I had for myself in regards to my goals and off-the-court preparation. Sam's also one of the most competitive guys I know and that's something I can appreciate."
Joel Peters, Tennessee Team Manager 2006-10
"I remember Sam's first speech as a coach. He went through the entire top 50 ITA teams and read off everyone one of them. By the time he got to us (UT) we were ranked 50th in the country. At that time I knew he would make some major changes. The way he recruited to the way he pushed his players on and off the court made UT Tennis what it is today. By the time I graduated, Sam turned a top 50 program into a National Championship contender. Sam, along with all the players and staff, made our program into one of the best in the country."
Chad Tsuda, Colorado Buffalo 2002-06
"Sam was a great coach and knew how to get the best from his players. He pushed us all very hard physically and challenged us all mentally everyday. Practice was always thought of as very important instilling in us to work on our game and to understand the importance of practice. As a person and off the court Sam was very personable and understood tennis was not everything. He made clear to the team how academics was so important. He taught us discipline on and off the court, which I still believe I have to today!"
Andrew Green, Colorado Tennis SID
"I believe no one cares about his or her program more than Sam does. In the early days of the Colorado program when wins were hard to come by, Sam always had something positive to say about his team and the direction where it was headed. Win or lose, there was always something positive. And I think that was evident in the last year of men's program at CU in 2006. He brought out the best in his student-athletes and it carried over to everyone who cared about men's tennis."