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Retired tennis coach discusses successful career

June 03, 2011

  • Photo by Christopher Onstott, Portland Tribune

Undergraduate Campus

Coach Gundars Tilmanis, who retired this spring after 20 years working with tennis players at Lewis & Clark, shares stories from his incredible life in this Portland Tribune profile. Tilmanis, known to the Lewis & Clark community as “Til,” has served as head men’s and women’s tennis coach for the past decade.

Born in Latvia, Tilmanis grew up in Australia and later attended the University of Oregon. Throughout his career, he has inspired athletes and coaches alike, working as a teaching pro, leading camps, and speaking at the National Tennis Teachers Conference more times than any other presenter.

His coaching philosophy, which emphasizes how sports fit within the overall education of students, was the perfect fit for the Lewis & Clark community.

“The win-loss record is the most objective way of evaluating team success. On the same line as that is student satisfaction – having them enjoy the experience, having them try hard, having them compete, having them become better people,” Tilmanis told the Tribune. “If that wasn’t on the same line, as a coach, you’d get depressed. But we’re preparing people for their own lives and for the direction of others. There has to be a blend. Let’s compete very hard to win, but let’s enjoy and learn from the experience.”

Read the full profile, which includes remarks from alumni of the Pioneer tennis teams.

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