LOVE FOR THE GAME COACH CID CARVALHO SERVES UP A TENNIS LEGACY
n the Big South Conference, Cid Carvalho’s name is synonymous with tennis excellence.
The long-time Winthrop coach and alumnus has achieved a successful record, but more important to him is the network of tennis alumni who have contributed to the program’s legacy.
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Carvalho ’81, ’89 holds a combined men’s and women’s tennis team record of 732-439.
Carvalho’s 24 Big South titles — 19 as the women’s team coach and five as coach of the men’s team — are the second-most by a Big South coach in any sport, according to conference officials. Only Coach Brant Tolsma of Liberty University’s track and field teams has more.
The conference proclaimed Carvalho its Women’s Tennis Coach of the Decade for 1990-99 and 2000-09.
“What can you say about a man that has done it all? To be the Coach of the Decade — for two decades? The second all-time winningest coach in the Big South — in any sport? What a career Cid Carvalho has had,” said Big South Commissioner Kyle Kallander. “But perhaps what I will remember most about Cid is his class — the way he ran his program, his support for his student- athletes and his concern for Big South tennis in a macro sense. A great coach and a great person.”
As Carvalho’s coaching days wind down in what is his 33rd year, he remains focused on player development and possibly hosting next spring’s Big South championship in Rock Hill.
He remains proud that the university has worked to build a nationally recognized women’s program that consistently ranks in the top 70 programs in the country.
How does Carvalho find good players year after year? He said he weighs the intangibles in recruitment, the factors that go beyond a player’s win-loss International Tennis Federation record. “It’s hard to define,” Carvalho said. “It’s a feeling that you get as you watch
their playing videos — their shot choice, their passion and their determination.”
Once he decides on a player, it is crucial that he conveys to the player that he cares for him or her as an individual. “That is the fundamental base,” Carvalho said. “They are treated with respect.”
Meanwhile, players are impressed with Carvalho’s passion, knowledge and love of the game.
Junior Lauren Proctor, Big South Player of the Year for the past two years, said Carvalho knows how to bring out the best in his players. “He knows how to push you, he knows how to educate you, he makes you want to be successful,” said Proctor. “I have grown so much as a player, and I believe he is the main reason for that.”
Carvalho credits support from the Office of Admissions, the International Center and others who have helped bring in top international players. Another factor is the team’s assistant coaches, many of whom are former Eagles and understand what players face during their matches.
While Carvalho talks about the program’s highlights, he also feels obligated to mention its low point. The men’s team was involved in a van crash in 1993 outside Hattiesburg, Mississippi, that killed a player and seriously injured another. The university’s 12 lighted courts were dedicated Memorial Courts in 2004 to remember the accident.
Once a Winthrop player himself, Carvalho played at two other South Carolina colleges before anchoring the #1 spot for Winthrop his senior year. He and his wife, Sherri ’81, raised their family in Rock Hill.
The Carvalhos became lifetime Eagles many years ago and have passed on a sense of pride to the players.
“The players bond here, they care for each other and they fight so hard in their matches,” Carvalho said. “It’s nice to see that once the tennis players become a member of an Eagles team, they are always a member.”
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