CU’s women’s tennis team has hired Tel Aviv native Danielle Steinberg as its new head coach.
Steinberg made her way to the helm of CU tennis in a career that started from her days as a college tennis player at the University of Arizona. Steinberg attended there from 2005 to 2009 where she played tennis all four years.
She received several awards as a player, but most noticeably was given all PAC-10 academic honors as a senior.
After her playing career, Steinberg began coaching at Wichita State University, where she served as an assistant coach for two years before taking over as head coach at McNeese University in Louisiana.
After two years at McNeese, Steinberg took a coaching position at Kansas State University in 2014. She coached there for four years before coming to CU. At Kansas State, Steinberg brought the most successful season the Wildcats had since 2007, going 15-11, tying for fifth in the 12-team conference.
Growing up playing tennis in Israel, Steinberg took a very different path to collegiate tennis than most.
Having moved to the US from Israel at the age of 21, Steinberg had to quickly adjust to the American system.
“Playing tennis in Israel is very different than America,” says Steinberg. “You don’t play for your school team or anything like that, so a lot of your training comes through clubs or is done alone.”
The differences between Israel and America did not stop at the high school level.
“I didn’t start playing college tennis until I was 21 because of my army service. So by the time I started playing at Arizona I was already three years older than all the other first year players,” said Steinberg.
“Growing up Jewish in Israel affected the way I played tennis because you grow up facing a lot of adversity. This leads to a competitiveness that is common among Israelis,” says Steinberg.
Last year CU’s tennis team went 9-12 overall, and 2-7 in conference play. These records can pose a challenge for an incoming coach; however, Steinberg has been known to dig her teams out of holes and sustain winning records.
The year before she took over at McNeese State, its team had a record of 3-16. The following season it went 16-7, winning more than 15 matches for the first time since 2015.
Steinberg is the 10th coach at CU, but only the third in the last 30 years. Steinberg hopes to be around for a long time.
“Turning around a tennis program is never an easy thing and can take several years,” said Steinberg. “However, with good recruiting and the correct mindset and culture, it’s definitely possible.”
Heading into the upcoming season Steinberg and CU will have a tough task.
Since joining the PAC-12 in 2012, CU’s tennis team has hovered near the bottom of the standings every year.
Given Steinberg’s turnaround of tennis programs in the past, she welcomes the challenge.
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