Final Home Match on Saturday for Senior Eric McKean
April 19, 2007
Cardinal seniors Eric McKean and David Ryan will play in their final home match of their Stanford careers at the Taube Tennis Center on Saturday, April 21, when Stanford hosts California on 'Senior Day' beginning at 1:00 pm. McKean, from Portland, Oregon, reflects on his four years on The Farm in a Q&A.
Q&A With Eric McKean
What has been the most memorable moment for you as a member of the Stanford men's tennis team?
My most memorable moment on the tennis team happened my sophomore year when we played Illinois at home. I was playing a top ranked college player and I started off the match losing the first set 6-1 and was down 3-0 in the second. Somehow I was able to scratch my way back into the match and I won the second set in a tiebreaker after being down three match points. I then battled the whole way through the third set and I finally reached a match point at 5-4. On match point, I ripped the best backhand down the line winner that I have ever hit and victoriously threw my racquet into the air. I was exhausted, but I was overjoyed as I heard everyone cheering for me and the rest of the team.
Why did you choose to come to Stanford?
'Dick Gould' pretty much sums it up. Through the whole recruiting process, Dick sold me on Stanford Tennis and how incredible it is to be a part of historically the greatest college tennis program in the nation...he was right.
The expectations of the Stanford tennis program are very high year in and year out. How are you able to handle the rigors of a demanding class schedule and the pursuit of being a national champion?
It's all about spending the appropriate amount of time on each of your commitments. It took me my whole freshmen year to figure out how much I could put on my plate, but since then I have learned to balance my time efficiently between work and tennis, and I have still managed to have a lot fun during my college years.
What do you like most about being on the Stanford tennis team?
My favorite part about Stanford tennis is being able to spend a lot of my time with some of my closest friends. Whether we are hanging out in hotel rooms, restaurants, and especially when we are competing against other schools on the tennis court, my teammates and I have fostered a strong camaraderie that will go far beyond my time at The Farm.
How have you changed as a player and a person in your four years on The Farm?
When it comes to tennis, I am no longer a 'pusher,' a player who retrieves everything but does not really go for anything with his shots. Because of the technical help from Whit and Dave, I now love blasting from the baseline and going for my shots. As a person, I have definitely matured a lot because of the guidance and daily interactions with my coaches and former teammates. When I was a freshmen and sophomore, Carter Morris and Sam Warburg really took me under their wings and instilled a lot of confidence in me both on and off the court.
Which team did you look forward to playing the most and why?
I always look forward to playing UCLA because I grew up learning how to play tennis in UCLA's stadium. Also, I was coached by a former Bruin, Danny Saltz. So almost every time we have played UCLA, I received a phone call the night before the match from my old coach, who never failed to mention how the Bruins always beat Stanford and were going to do so the following day. Fortunately, in my four years I was able to silence my coach, bur I know I'll never hear the end of it.
What advice would you give the future Stanford tennis players?
To future captains and also to the rest of the guys, I would tell them to implement the famous quotation, 'Take care of your troops (teammates), and they will take care of you.'
What type of influence has Dick Gould and John Whitlinger had on your career?
Although I only had one year with Coach Gould, he taught two key life lessons that also helped my tennis game immensely. They were never put my head down, and never settle until you are the champ.The most important lesson I learned from Whit was to win and lose with class. He also showed me the importance of getting out of my comfort zone on the court by finding a successful game plan against various opponents to give myself the best chance to win.
What do you want your teammates to remember you for and what do you want your Stanford legacy to be?
I want be remembered as the toughest Stanford tennis player that put everything on the line every time I went out on the court.
What are your career goals following your graduation from Stanford?
Although I still have a little bit of school to finish, I am really interested in asset management. Hopefully, I can land a job in this field and then go on to be a talented and successful money manager. After some time in this industry, I want to work in the government and advise in international economic policy.