Feb. 14, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - It wasn't because of a powerful backhand, or abnormal agility on the court, or even a multitude of championship trophies that landed Bridgette Strickland, a Utah State graduate, in the right court to become the assistant coach at the University of Hawaii, it was her attitude and presence off the court.
Strickland, an Orem, Utah native, graduated from USU in May, 2009 with a degree in parks and recreation and never imagined becoming a coach until the opportunity presented itself.
During a match in the 2008-09 season, UH Head Coach Jun Hernandez saw her play and noticed how positive and encouraging she was to her teammates on and off the court. Throughout the rest of that year, the pieces fell into place and before long Strickland was offered a job to become an assistant coach at Hawaii.
Strickland doesn't feel that she got the job solely on tennis talent, but something more.
"I don't think I got this job all based on tennis," Strickland said. "I think he was looking for a good team leader and someone with a positive attitude."
Strickland said that her time as a student athlete at Utah State helped prepare her for this position as an assistant coach. Her coach at USU, Christian Wright, played a very positive role in her tennis career, in her outlook on life; and in her coaching responsibilities. She said he taught the team about tennis and how to become the best person you could be.
"What Chris was for me, I want to be like that for the girls at Hawaii," Strickland said.
While on the court, she learned some valuable lessons that she has taken with her to Hawaii, like the compassion and teamwork it takes to be a successful team. Strickland said to be successful in life or sports you have to hang onto the way winning feels and to get up move on when you lose.
Tennis for Strickland can be full of mixed emotions. She said she has had to learn to win as team even when she lost her matches, or lose as team when she won her matches. Learning this has helped her to become a better teammate.
Though she likes being in Hawaii and having the opportunity to coach, she said she will really miss the campus life and activities of USU. Strickland said she always loved the first few weeks of school with all the "welcome back" activities, and also the feeling of campus around Homecoming.
"Logan has a special feeling about it and being away I recognize that more," she said.
Bridgette said she would like to stay connected with her fellow Aggie teammates. Her e-mail address:
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