Joanne Norell | July 9, 2019
One might forgive Alison Silverio for feeling some intimidation as she embarked on her first season as the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s tennis team.
After all, she not only would be following in the footsteps of incumbent Jay Louderback, who had led the Irish to 544 victories and 24 NCAA Championship appearances in 29 season, but she would do so with no prior connection to the University. Of the five head coaches who would begin their first seasons with the Irish in 2018-19, Silverio — a national-championship winning player at Georgia Tech and head coach at Oregon before taking the Notre Dame job — was the lone newcomer to come completely from the outside.
Yes, that fact might have been some cause for nerves as Silverio stepped into her office at the Eck Tennis Pavilion for the first time. Instead, she felt nothing but energetic.
“It was exciting at first,” Silverio said. “I knew coming in, ‘OK, I don’t have the same connection as a lot of other coaches or maybe some of the other staff has, whether they were a student-athlete or coach here before.’ But it was exciting, it was a clean slate. I was kind of just this blank canvas and taking in all the information. And I think with that, I was able to bring a new perspective and new ideas.”
Of course, Silverio was familiar with Notre Dame from her days as a student-athlete and assistant coach. She was an assistant at her alma mater when the Irish joined the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2013-14 season, and one doesn’t run in college tennis circles without knowing of Louderback.
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