‘Inside UVA’: A Conversation With Champion Tennis Coach Andres Pedroso
Audio: ‘Inside UVA’: A Conversation With Champion Tennis Coach Andres Pedroso(22:16)
Hear how a surprising conversation with legendary sports agent Donald Dell led Pedroso into coaching.
Andres Pedroso, director of tennis at the University of Virginia and head coach of the Cavalier men’s tennis team, has led his Hoos to three NCAA championships, including back-to-back wins in 2022 and 2023. He has twice been named National Tennis Coach of the Year and is a three-time Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year.
But if it weren’t for some advice from a prominent sports agent, Pedroso told President Jim Ryan on his podcast “Inside UVA,” he might not have pursued a coaching career.
The former tennis pro spent four years on the circuit before he simply “ran out of money,” he said. Coming from a family of Cuban descent whose many members worked in finance, Pedroso decided to try his hand on Wall Street.
After about 15 months, he missed tennis and went to interview as a sports agent. That’s when his world changed.
His interview was with Donald Dell, a legend in the field who ran a company called ProServ, which represented athletes including NBA stars Ralph Sampson, Michael Jordan and James Worthy, and pro tennis greats Arthur Ashe, Stan Smith and Yannick Noah, among many others.
The interview went well. Dell, a 1964 School of Law graduate, told Pedroso he had just one more question for the young man.
“And he said to me, ‘Andres, I’m about to offer you this job. But before I offer you the job, I need you to think about something. When you’re at a U.S. Open final, do you want to be the one in the tennis clothes worrying about the match? Or do you want to be the one in the suit worrying about the deals for the player that’s playing?’
“And it hit me like a ton of bricks right there. And I said, ‘You know what, I actually want to be the guy in the tennis clothes.’ And he said, ‘OK, well don’t take this job,’” Pedroso said.
It’s a story right out of Hollywood. Learn more of Pedroso’s story by listening to Ryan’s latest episode of “Inside UVA.” It can be heard on most podcast apps, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.