Pablo Pires de Almeida is entering his fourth year as the Head Coach of the USF men’s tennis team. He originally joined the staff in 2009-10 as an assistant coach and moved up to associate head coach for two seasons before taking on the head coaching position.
Previously a standout player at USF, he was selected to the All-West Coast Conference three times, including a first team singles selection in 2005. He also earned an all-time Division I national singles rank of 61st, and a doubles ranking of 70th. In 2004, Pires de Almeida became USF’s first recipient of the prestigious ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award.
After graduating from USF in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Pires de Almeida played professionally on various circuits around the world. Following his professional career, he became a high performance coach and mentored some of the top junior players in the United States. He coached the Boys 18s Northern California National team and remains active in USTA and Northern California tennis programs.
A native of Fairfax, Calif., he and his wife Paige currently reside in San Rafael.
1. How did you first get interested in tennis?
Growing up, my father played at two public courts in Fairfax's Peri Park in Marin County. I began playing there at age 4, and played there throughout my childhood. I fell in love with the sound of the ball hitting the racquet and feet squeaking on the courts.
2. When did you know that you wanted to play in college and become a pro?
I knew at the age of 9 when I saw Brad Gilbert play Andre Agassi at the Volvo Classic in San Francisco.
3. What are some of the best things about being a Division I college tennis coach?
Coaching at the D1 level provides an opportunity to bring together top-level players as a team, and work together with energy and passion to achieve success. It's more than developing my players' tennis game -- it's about building young men into people who become strong leaders.
4. You are known to be an optimist, but there must be some challenges to being a college coach. What are they?
To be honest, it's not a job you choose for the paycheck. You need to be able to wear multiple hats and problem solve on a daily basis. Our program does not have an on-campus facility, which can be logistically challenging.
5. When you are not playing or coaching tennis, what inspires you or makes you happy?
I'm a simple man and I take pleasure in simple things. My wife, my cat, Italian food, live music, and Tennis Channel.