July 2, 2014
By Jon Cooper
The Good Word
Christy Lynch not only believes you can go home again, but that you can bring a national championship home again with you. It’s something she’s eager to prove.
Lynch, who was hired as Georgia Tech women’s tennis assistant coach on Monday, is better known around the Flats as Christy Striplin, who back in 2007, was a sophomore as the Yellow Jackets took home an NCAA Championship. She’ll replace Alison Silverio, who was her teammate on the 2007 team and tournament MVP, who clinched the title and set off a wild celebration that, to this day, ranks amongst Lynch’s greatest memories.
“Obviously the moment when Ali clinched the national title, it’s just a moment that I’ll never forget,” Lynch said. “But every year I had at Georgia Tech was special. I made close friends from the teams that I was on and I know they’ll stick with me forever. So that’s what I take with me from my experience is my relationships with my teammates.”
Lynch finished her playing career as part of two more top-10 teams, one more ACC regular season champion and teams that reached the Elite Eight and Sweet 16. She made an enormous impact in the GT record books, finishing second in career singles wins (117), 11th in career doubles wins (68), fourth in singles win percentage (.736, 117-42) and tied for third in doubles wins percentage (.667, 68-34), while earning All-ACC and ACC Honor Roll in 2008.
After a year playing professionally on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, she came back to Georgia Tech in 2012, serving as volunteer assistant for head coach Rodney Harmon.
In 2013, she took an assistant coach position at Emory and was part of the Eagles’ magical season in which they set a program record for wins (28 — they went 28-2), and won their sixth Division III National Championship behind two-time D-III Singles champ Gabrielle Clark.
When Silverio took the head coaching position at the University of Oregon on May 28, Harmon reached out to Lynch. Returning to the Flats was an offer too good to pass up.
Lynch expects that having already worked with Harmon will be advantageous and that the team should be able to hit the ground running once official practices start in the fall.
“He knows my work ethic and I know what he’s looking for out of his players,” she said. “I’ll be able to work closely with him right off the bat and know basically what he expects and we can be on the same page.”
Being in sync right away is important for a team that has no seniors. But the cupboard is hardly bare. Returning are key juniors Megan Kurey and Kendal Woodard, maybe the nation’s top doubles team, and Natasha Prokhnevska as well as super-sophomores Rasheeda McAdoo and Alexa Anton-Ohlmeyer.
Lynch is eager to do her part to help mold, and watch the improvement of Tech’s young talent — very good young talent.
“I think it’s great to have a lot of young, competitive players and we have strong recruits coming in,” she said. “I see a lot of power. The serves are bigger. They’ve got strong serves and they’re athletic. So there’s a lot of great talent and it looks really, really good.”
They’re powerful, talented and coachable.
“They’re hungry to improve. They work hard and they want to get better. You can see it,” she said. “They’re hungry. I think getting them early we’ll be able to work with them and help them from the beginning. I think it’s an advantage.”
“This is going to be the first year that we’ll have more than six girls on the team,” she added. “I think for a top-10 program to compete for a National Title, there needs to be more competitiveness within the lineup and I think that’s something that’s going to happen this year. We’re going to have more players on the roster and that’s what we can expect. This year I’m expecting great things.”
The training has already begun albeit on a limited basis.
“I’m just working with a couple of the girls that are here over the summer that want to work on their games while they’re here,” she said. “It’s a two-hours-a-day limit. This morning we worked out for an hour and a half and then they headed to class. It’s solely their option. So they’re wanting to work out and as long as they want to I’ll be here ready to work with them.
“I’m a competitive person. I want to win and I’m the same way as a coach. I want to win on the sideline. So it’s a little different,” she added. “You’re working a chess game in your head and you’re trying to figure out how you can help your player be as successful as they can be on the court. So it’s more of a strategy than it is, physical, obviously.”
Get The Good Word in your e-mail box — it’s free! Just register here to get the latest features on Georgia Tech Athletics.