CALDWELL – Longtime – but now former – Mount Saint Dominic Academy head tennis coach Bob Reich remembers it as if it were just yesterday.
“It was her freshman year, 2006, and she was playing second singles,” Reich recounts of the first-ever varsity match played by his replacement, new MSDA tennis mentor Brianna Turano, a lifelong Nutley resident and a member of the MSDA Class of 2010.
“Brianna lost the first set, 2-6, to a girl from Madison, but then everything changed. She won the second set, 7-5 and the third set, 6-4, and, watching the way she moved on the court, I knew we had a real player who we could count on.
“Her athleticism and determination really shone through, and immediately, I knew we had a real standout in the making, and it turns out, I was right.”
Indeed, Reich was right, as Turano is new the new head tennis coach at the Mount.
Following a stellar career at Manhattan College, Turano was hired shortly after the soon-to-be 79-year-old Reich retired a fortnight ago and his longtime assistant, Jonathan Le, who is also an attorney, stepped down as well due to the fact that he will be spending a lot of time in Europe at the behest of a new client.
“To tell you the truth, I really don’t remember that first match all that well, but I’m not at all surprised that coach Bob does, because he’s always been in my corner,” Turano said with a smile.
After being graduated from the Mount, Turano attended Manhattan College and is now a ReMax Agent in the Caldwells.
“Playing at the Mount was a great experience for me,” enthusiastically said Turano. “I loved being able to be part of a team of players that who always supported and motivated one another. My team and Coach Bob helped me play to my full potential which then helped me achieve my goal of playing (NCAA) Division 1 tennis in college.
“I also played golf while at the Mount which I enjoyed tremendously. Marybeth (Olsinski Sabates, also a Mount alum) was my coach at the time and helped me to learn and grow a lot, not only on the course, but in everyday life as well. She went above and beyond and I hope that I can do that same for my team.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to be able to come back to the Mount and share my experiences and knowledge with the team. I am looking forward to giving back to the school that gave me so much.
“Right now we’re still looking for an assistant coach. We would ideally love to find someone who shares my ideas in regards to helping the team learn and grow. I have been in touch with players and coaches I have played and worked with whom I feel could help the team reach its full potential.
“I hope to be able to share my experiences at the Mount with the team and all that it has taught me. Whether it be helping those who hope to play in college with their recruiting, or helping the freshmen get more comfortable with being at a new school. I look forward to teaching them on and off the court and watching them experience all the Mount has to offer. As for the team, I want them to learn about being there for their teammates and forming a bond with one another. Some of the most important aspects of being an athlete in my opinion is having good sportsmanship, commitment, dedication, and drive. I will do my best to instill that in my players.”
Thinking back, Turano notes that, “The Mount taught me a lot about myself and helped me to grow as a person. The community within the school – from the teachers, to my coaches, to my classmates – all helped me to be who I am today. I truly enjoyed my experience there and I do think that as the years went on after I graduated I realized more and more what it taught me.
“When (veteran MSDA Athletics Director Lorenzo) Sozio called me regarding the position, I was sad to hear about coach Bob retiring, but excited for the opportunity. I currently have my real estate license with RE/MAX Park Square in West Caldwell. I am part of an online tennis site called Tennis Between the Lines, teach private lessons, and have a fitness clothing line, Slay Fit Wear, getting ready to launch.
“However, even with all that is going on in my life, tennis still plays a huge role and has a lot to do with who I am today. That is why I knew coaching at the Mount was something I couldn’t say no to. Tennis has always and will always be my passion and the Mount helped me to reach that dream I have always had of playing on a D1 team in college. I look forward to this experience and sharing my love of tennis and the Mount with the team this year.”
Turano and her new team are slated to kick off their 2016 campaign by playing host to Livingston on Thursday, Sept. 7.