Pham Promoted To Head Women's Tennis Coach
BOULDER — The University of Colorado has promoted associate head coach Anthony Pham into the head women's tennis coaching position, athletic director Rick George announced Monday.
Pham, 39, had taken over as interim head coach on July 1, replacing Danielle Steinberg, who resigned due to family reasons. Pham had been serving as associate head coach since February, coming to CU from the University of Wisconsin where he was the associate head coach for the Badgers' No. 21 ranked program for the 2019-20 season (the school's highest ranking in 20 years). He had just been promoted to Wisconsin's associate head coach on June 1, 2020.
He becomes just the seventh head coach in program history since women's tennis was awarded varsity status in 1976. He follows Jeff Moore (1976-82), Steve Zaslow (1982-84), Jon Winegardner (1984-87), Tom Russ (1987-99), Nicole Kenneally (1999-2018) and Steinberg (2018-21).
Pham is also the first Vietnamese-American head coach in CU history, and indications are he may very well be the first in any sport in the Power 5 conferences (Pac-12, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC).
"I am beyond excited about this opportunity," Pham said. "Leading the next chapter of the women's tennis program at CU is an absolute privilege and honor. Boulder is a special place and the support we are able to provide for our student-athletes is second to none. I am pumped to have the chance to continue working with this fantastic group of young women and together we will work diligently to pursue consistency and excellence in everything we do. Our goal is to continue building an elite program while providing a first-class experience for our student-athletes."
"I want to thank Rick George, Alexis Williams and Jill Keegan for this unbelievable opportunity," he added. "I also want to thank Danielle Steinberg for her leadership, guidance and friendship."
Pham has 15 years of collegiate coaching experience, including his time as an assistant at Wisconsin and Purdue University, an ATP Touring coach, and the head coach at Niagara University, the latter over both the men's and women's programs. At Niagara, he was Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for both the men and women in 2013.
"We are excited to name Anthony as our new head coach," George said. "He was a great assistant for Danielle and is a great recruiter. He knows the game of tennis inside-and-out and I firmly believe that he will continue to build on the success that Danielle had during her time as head coach."
He recruited two five-star players in Wisconsin's 2021 class, and for the Badgers was responsible for running all aspects of the program including scheduling practice, recruiting and practice planning. In five seasons as an assistant at Purdue, he was pivotal in recruiting three classes that were ranked in the top 25 nationally, including the No. 10 class in 2018. He also coached Silvia Ambrosio to a No. 9 ranking in the nation in singles while the Boilermakers were No. 21 in the nation.
Pham also spent time as an ATP Touring Coach during his time at Purdue; one of his top players was Daniel Nguyen who was a member of Southern California's team that won four straight NCAA titles.
His first head coaching position came tutoring the men at Niagara University in 2008; he then assumed the head coaching chores for Niagara's women's program as well in 2010 and held both positions until he was hired by Purdue in October 2014. He was named the MAAC Conference Coach of the Year for both teams in 2013, the first in conference history to be recognized with the honor for both in the same season.
He earned his bachelor's degree in Biology in 2004 from Baker (Kan.) University, where he was a four-time first team All-HAAC (Heart of America Athletic Conference) performer. A two-time team captain, he won the conference title as an individual as a freshman in 2001, helping the Wildcats to the team title, led Baker to two top 25 rankings and was a finalist for the Arthur Ashe National Award for sportsmanship and leadership.
Pham received his Masters of Education in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Health Education from Drury University in 2007, where he broke into the coaching profession as a graduate assistant for both the men's and women's tennis teams, while also serving as the strength and conditioning coach. Both teams won two conference titles with him on the staff and were ranked nationally.
Steinberg was CU's head coach for three seasons, compiling an overall record of 27-32, with a 6-16 mark in Pac-12 conference games. She had the program on the upswing, as the six Pac-12 wins equaled CU's total over the previous five seasons before she was hired. The 3-7 record in league play both this year and in 2019 were the most since the Buffs were 3-8 in the Big 12 in 2010; Colorado was 9-12 this past spring.
Student-Athlete Comments On Pham:
Ky Ecton, Jr.
"I am delighted to have Anthony as our head coach! Given we have had some previous coaching changes, it is comforting the team has established relationships with Anthony from this past spring season and we can build off those. I appreciate how open and approachable he is and I am excited to see all he brings to our team. Can't wait to get to work!"
Megan Forster, Jr.
"We are thrilled to have Anthony moving into the head coach position. With Anthony being our assistant this past spring, it means he's been around us throughout our season and has experienced and understands the culture and values we are trying to build for the future of this program. He brings a lot of knowledge and passion to our team and we cannot wait to welcome him into his new role and get back on campus to begin preparing for this upcoming year. Sko Buffs!"