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New assistant tennis coach brings hard work and empathy to her job

(Photo by Calli Storrs) Golub recently graduated from Holy Names University.
(Photo by Calli Storrs) Golub recently graduated from Holy Names University.

Mills College’s new assistant tennis coach, Julia Golub, brings nine years of experience to the team.

Golub was hired over the summer and has already started working with the team.

A recent graduate of Holy Names University (HNU), Golub heard about the opening at Mills from her own tennis coach, Trina Slapeka, who knew Mills’ head tennis coach Tony Canedo.

She has all the qualities you need in a coach: she was a former player, her tennis IQ is very, very high and she’s a super enjoyable person to be around,” Canedo said. “We’re just really really happy to have her on board.”

Golub was raised with an active lifestyle. She played basketball, baseball and soccer as a kid and enjoys badminton, ping pong and bowling now.

Golub was originally inspired to pick up tennis in eighth grade by playing Wii Tennis with her friend. When she remarked on how easy tennis seemed, her friend disagreed. After trying out her first year for her high school team, Golub quickly found out how true that was—she didn’t make the team.

“I got cut on my freshman team,” Golub said. “This actually motivated me to work harder.”

Her sophomore year, she made the junior varsity team, and in her last two years she played on varsity.

“Tennis is a lifelong sport. Anyone can play at anytime,” Golub said. “It’s never too late to play.”

Although Golub started playing tennis later in life, she quickly made up ground—Golub won the Coast Conference Singles Champion in 2014 and ranked number 5 Community College Women’s Tennis player in Northern California. Aside from her awards, Golub is also noted as an incredibly hard worker.

“I helped coach Julia and she showed remarkable progress during that time. She works extremely hard on her game, was very diligent and an excellent student,” former coach Michael Wayman said in an email. “I really enjoyed her enthusiasm and hard work. She applied herself admirably.”

Tennis provided Golub with something the other sports of her childhood couldn’t: singularity. Other than loving the exercise, the competition and working hard, Golub loves the individual aspect of tennis. Basketball, baseball and soccer couldn’t feed her work ethic and competitive spirit in the same way.

“It’s tough, you have to do a lot of communication,” Golub said of those team sports. In tennis, “it’s all on me. Tennis is mental. You have to play with that mental part.”

Her work ethic, accolades and motivation to put in the practice are not the only things that Golub brings to her job.

“I believe she will be marvelous as an assistant coach. She will certainly apply herself to the job and I am sure it will also be a great learning experience and opportunity for her to be involved in the game she loves so much,” Wayman said. “I would like to add that Julia is a very caring and empathetic person and I feel would be ideally suited for coaching and helping student athletes.”

Golub hopes to provide players at Mills with good memories, encouragement and support; she wants to see them learn, grow, continue playing and ultimately share their passion with more people. Lastly, she wants to see them be successful and enjoy themselves.

“My coaches motivated me to improve my game and support me through my life,” Golub said. “Coaches play a big part, and hopefully I can do the same, help them improve their game and make some kind of impact on their life.”

Already, Canedo noticed a difference, saying that their coaching is deeper and has a different dynamic that gives players more options about where to go when something isn’t working.

“It’s better immediately,” Canedo said. “In an individual sport it takes a little more fortitude—I think she brings that.”

After she graduated high school, Golub attended Chabot Community College, took a year off and transferred to HNU.

“That’s why I want to thank my coaches,” Golub said, “because they helped me get to where I am now.”

When asked what else she would like to mention, Golub forgetting her accolades and instead excitedly shares that she knows some American Sign Language and a little Korean, that she loves boba and Chik-fil-A, that her favorite player is Billie Jean King and that her favorite quote of King’s is something she would like to say to her players before a match.  

“‘Champions keep playing until they get it right,’” Golub said. “I’ve always loved that quote.”