Coach Aaron Bergeron came to Emerson College with a clear vision of where he wanted to take the tennis program. Now in his third year, he is happy with the players he is bringing in and the culture he has built.
“We’re bringing on stronger and stronger players each year who fit our team culture,” Coach Aaron Bergeron said.
Bergeron grew up in Gorham, Maine and got into tennis as a child by messing around with his parents on the court and watching players on television like Andre Agassi, Pat Rafter and Pete Sampras. His most memorable memory came when he was a junior playing in the 2007 Maine Principals Association High School Singles Tournament. He had to play against a much higher ranked player and was able to come up with the win.
“This was the first time I was able to mentally push myself further than I thought possible and it allowed me how to pull out a two-and-a-half-hour, three-set win,” Bergeron said.
After high school, Bergeron attended Stonehill College where he studied psychology and played all four years. With the Skyhawks he was a six-time all-conference selection and was captain his senior year. After college Bergeron was not ready to say goodbye to college tennis.
“I had a tough time letting go after my four years and was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to coach right after graduating,” he said.
He started his coaching career as the assistant coach at the University of Southern Maine in his hometown of Gorham. During that time Bergeron credits then head coach Ron Chicoine for helping him grow as a coach.
“He’s the best coach I’ve ever been around and to this day, I still bounce ideas off him,” Bergeron said.
After a year as the Assistant Coach, Bergeron took over the USM Program in 2014. His team went undefeated that year, won the Little East Conference championship, and secured a NCAA playoff berth. Bergeron was also named Little East Conference Coach of the Year in 2014.
After his stellar year at USM, he was tapped to lead the Merrimack College tennis program in 2015. He once again went undefeated. His men’s team won the Northeast-10 Conference and he won the Northeast-10 Coach of the Year. However, those are not the memories that stick with Bergeron.
“Those were some fun matches, but my strongest memories aren’t the glamorous one,” he said.
One of Bergeron’s grittiest wins was during the ‘14-’15 season when he coached the Merrimack College women’s tennis team. Bergeron’s team was very strong, but Adelphi College had one of the strongest teams in the conference. Merrimack, led by Coach Bergeron, lost to the Panthers in the regular season, but the teams met again in the playoffs.
“Our doubles pairings were pretty interchangeable throughout the course of the year, so I took the risk of putting our best doubles player at No. 1 with our best singles” he recalled. “We wound up taking two out of the three doubles points and won the match 5-4…[It] was a pretty remarkable accomplishment.”
Bergeron spent one season at The Wentworth Institute of Technology before coming to Emerson College in 2017. Bergeron is happy with the progress that his tennis program has made over the last three years, but he still has one big goal for both his teams — make the playoffs.
“Our league is super competitive and one of the tougher conferences in Division III. We’re bringing on stronger and stronger players each year who fit our team culture, and I don’t think we’re far from [reaching our] goals.”
At Emerson, Bergeron has started to pay forward what he learned from his own experience with his mentor Chicoine to the next wave of new coaches, including one of his assistant coaches, Burke Paxton.
“I have known [Bergeron} since I was in high school and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work for him,” Paxton said. “He puts a lot of trust in myself and our other assistant Andy and really values our opinion…it has been a pleasure to be his assistant.”
Arguably, the happiest moment of Bergeron’s life is around the corner. He and his wife, Erin, are expecting the birth of their first child soon. Bergeron is excited to share his passion and career with his child in the coming years.
“Every parent just wants to make their kid proud,” he said. “so I’d imagine I’ll be even more motivated to lead these programs to success in the years to come.”