Reprinted from GGC Athletics
Success has been synonymous with Chase Hodges’ legacy as a collegiate tennis coach.
In eight seasons leading Georgia Gwinnett College’s men’s and women’s tennis programs, the Grizzlies have won 11 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national team championships, 18 NAIA/Intercollegiate Tennis Association national individual titles, and amassed an amazing 292-22 record – a 93% winning percentage that puts him alongside such collegiate coaching legends as John Wooden, Nick Saban, Mike Kryzewski, Geno Auriemma, and Pat Summit.
Hodges has been named the NAIA National Coach of the Year 11 times and ITA NAIA National Coach of the Year seven times.
The winning ways began in 2002 as a 25-year-old coach at Longwood University (Virginia), after completing a master’s degree and serving as a graduate assistant coach at University of North Carolina Wilmington. The women’s team had a 16-5 record that season.
Then, came three seasons (2003-05) at University of North Carolina Asheville, where the men’s program increased its victory total in each season, and four seasons (2006-09) with the men’s tennis program at Drake University (Iowa), which had an 85-17 record.
That led Hodges to the Atlanta area in 2010 to lead Georgia State University for three seasons, two of which were consecutive 20-plus win seasons (2011-12). He moved across the Empire City of the South to Georgia Gwinnett College in 2013. The men’s tennis team hasn’t lost a match since April 3, 2015, taking a 123-match winning streak into the 2021 spring season.
“Winning doesn’t get old, ” Chase Hodges said as he heads into his 20th season as a coach. “As a younger coach I didn’t appreciate the wins and success. I was always concerned about winning the next match. Now, I’m enjoying all of the things we’ve accomplished here.”
The Grizzlies have captured 11 NAIA team national championships under Hodges’ leadership.
Later, he adds, “The biggest key to success is having a team that’s ready to play at its peak performance when it matters the most. For us, that’s the third week in May (at the NAIA national team championships).”
GGC’s men’s team has a perfect 24-0 record in NAIA team tournament matches while winning six NAIA national titles, and the women’s team is 23-1 in capturing five of a possible six team championships.
“Chase is a superstar in the ITA coaching profession,” ITA CEO Tim Russell said. “He is respected by all his fellow coaching colleagues and is a leading voice in our operating council (two coaches from each of the five college tennis divisions).”
He adds, “Chase has a great global perspective on all the roles of being a successful college coach. He has the ability to identify talented players and the ability to develop the players. He also cares about his school and community, but he really just loves the sport of tennis.”
Adam Jackson served as a volunteer assistant coach at GGC in 2014 and recalls an early conversation with Hodges about the head coach’s high expectations.
“Chase said, ‘If we don’t win a national championship, I’ll be disappointed.’,” says Jackson, now the men’s and women’s tennis coach at NCAA Division II Tusculum University (Tennessee). “He doesn’t shy away from talking about winning and championships, and (GGC’s) win streak is an incredible achievement. It’s a record that I don’t think will ever be broken. I hope they tack quite a few more onto it. I’m sure they actually talk about the streak quite a bit.”
Robert McAdoo is another assistant to Hodges, helping at UNC Asheville and GGC. He states, “Chase does everything the right way. His ability to relate to the players and create this family like culture that we have at GGC. He was good at coaching back (at UNC Asheville), but it’s night and day seeing him coach and lead a program today.”
Robert McAdoo was with Hodges as an assistant at UNC Asheville and currently serves on the coaching staff at GGC
Dado Pavic garnered a top-20 NCAA Division I national ranking in singles and doubles while playing for Hodges at Drake from 2005-08. He credits Hodges’ coaching style for improving each season and getting the best out of his playing ability.
“Coach Hodges genuinely believed I had the talent to be a top 20 player. He understood what was needed for me to become a higher performer. Some coaches have a template style philosophy where it’s ‘their way or the highway.’ Coach Hodges was a master at identifying individual strengths and weaknesses,” says Pavic, who also served as an assistant coach with Hodges at Drake in 2009. “I was impressed that every team he worked with became significantly more competitive in a very short period of time. It really highlights his ability to recruit and derive the highest performance out of his players.”