Release courtesy of Haverford College Athletic Communications
HAVERFORD, Pa. - Director of Athletics Wendy Smith '87 has announced the hiring of John Taft as head coach of the Haverford College women's tennis team. Taft joins the Fords from Amherst College where he served as the men's assistant coach since 2018.
"I would like to thank Wendy Smith and the search committee for the opportunity to lead the women's tennis team at Haverford College," said Taft. "I look forward to being a part of the supportive and engaging College community and working with our student-athletes to provide a positive experience on and off the court. It was clear during the hiring process why Haverford is one of the top liberal arts schools in the country and a place where academic and athletic excellence can be achieved."
"We are very excited to welcome John to the Haverford College athletic department as our head women's tennis coach," stated Director of Athletics Wendy Smith. "John brings a strong appreciation for and understanding of the Division III student-athlete experience at an academically demanding institution. John is committed to providing an environment in which our student-athletes can excel both on and off the court and has a clear vision for building a competitively successful program that will reflect the values of Haverford College within the highly competitive Centennial Conference."
During his first season at Amherst, Taft helped guide the Mammoths to the NESCAC regular-season championship and a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals. His team finished that season ranked fifth in the country. Individually, Taft helped mentor two All-Americans, including one NCAA singles quarterfinalist.
In addition to his coaching responsibilities, Taft took on the role of recruiting coordinator with the Mammoths and helped them secure the third-ranked recruiting class for 2020. Taft also had oversight of the team's strength & conditioning plans, scheduling, and player development.
Prior to coaching at Amherst, Taft was the graduate assistant coach at Smith College where he received his master's degree in Exercise and Sport Studies in 2019. That program focuses on intercollegiate coaching, particularly in women's athletics. His responsibilities as the assistant coach at Smith included planning and implementing practice plans, match coaching, and recruiting. He also directed a youth summer tennis program for the Campus School.
Before Smith, Taft was in New Jersey coaching high-performance junior tennis players from 2014-17. A PTR certified professional, Taft coached and helped develop over 90 sectional and nationally ranked players who were 4-star recruits and higher. He used his expertise as a Dartfish Certified Technologist to break down video and match play to further develop the athletes through on-court training and off-court sessions with thorough film analysis.
Taft earned a B.S. in physical education from SUNY Cortland and a B.S. in studio art from SUNY Oneonta. A four-year student-athlete at SUNY Oneonta, he was named first-team All-North Atlantic Conference (NAC) in both singles and doubles while also earning a spot on the 2011 All-Academic Team.
Taft got his start in college coaching at Cortland during the 2012-13 season. While there, he served as a Teaching Assistant in three different undergraduate courses and was inducted into the Tau Sigma Honor Society for his academic efforts.