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Steinberg Takes Over as K-State Women's Tennis Head Coach

July 28, 2014
By Kelly McHugh

On Wednesday, July 23, K-State Athletics welcomed Danielle Steinberg to Manhattan. Becoming the seventh head women's tennis coach in Wildcat history, Steinberg comes to K-State after spending the past two seasons at McNeese State. 

Guiding the McNeese State Cowgirls to unseen heights from 2012-14, Steinberg had a 29-17 overall record and earned both 2014 Southland Conference Coach of the Year and 2014 All-Louisiana co-Coach of the Year honors.

Steinberg went 16-7 overall, including a 10-2 mark in the Southland Conference in 2014, and, for the first time in school history, helped the Cowgirls achieve a top-10 regional ranking in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) regional rankings. 

No stranger to the Midwest, prior to her time at McNeese State, Steinberg spent two seasons (2010-12) as an assistant head coach for Wichita State. Despite a starting lineup containing four freshmen, Steinberg helped the Shockers go undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference in both 2011 and 2012 and advanced to the NCAA tournament both years. 

Steinberg began her coaching career in 2009 as a student assistant coach at her alma mater, Arizona. A fierce competitor during her years playing tennis at Arizona, Steinberg was the Wildcats' No. 1 singles player and team captain throughout her career. She was a three-time All-Pac-10 pick and was the Pac-10 Toyota Spring Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2009. The Tel Aviv, Israel, native demonstrated poise and leadership both on and off the tennis courts throughout her career, and, in 2009, won the ITA Arthur Ashe Award for Sportsmanship and Leadership.

A unique, talented and energetic coach, Steinberg is ready and excited to take the reigns of the K-State women's tennis program. K-State Sports Extra had the opportunity to sit down with Steinberg for today's Q&A:

Sports Extra: How has your time been since you arrived in Manhattan?

Danielle Steinberg: It's been a little crazy. I rolled in to town on Wednesday morning and it's been non-stop since. I don't know if there's a single moment that's been my favorite, but everyone has been so excited and everyone is all about K-State Athletics. That makes me feel good. It makes me feel welcome and really a part of it.

SE: Have you had the opportunity to meet the team?

DS: Not yet, but I know some of them from recruiting and past experience. I'm super excited to meet them, and I know they're excited too. They've been waiting quite a while for a new coach, so they are fired up and we're all ready to get to work. I've heard nothing but great things about this team. Everyone in the athletics department loves the tennis team and says how great they are. We're young, but that also means they'll have energy and will be willing to work, get better. I'm really excited to get to work and start coaching them.

SE: You had a lot of success at McNeese State. How do you make the adjustment from achieving that success and now apply it to a new program?

DS: Obviously I'm not going to change my coaching style. I think the core values are the same no matter where I am, and I think that my coaching philosophy and style will be the same as well. The most important thing that we have to do right now is instill the culture here, not change the culture, but just establish it. I think that's something I did at McNeese and it's something that I'll carry on here. 

SE: You said your coaching style won't change. How would you describe yourself as a coach?

DS: I'm a hard worker. I love to work hard; that's all I know. Once I work really hard for the players, they will work very hard for me too. I'm a player's coach; I'm about the student-athlete's happiness and experience. It's very important to me that they will be happy. You have to be happy to play well, and then once they do that, see that I really take care of them and care about their well being, they're going to trust me more and give me everything they have. 

SE: Having coached near by at Wichita State, were you familiar with K-State before taking the job?

DS: Obviously I know its K-State Athletics; it's a huge athletics department and a huge program. When I was in Wichita, the one thing that always struck me was that the fan base at K-State, how loyal it is and how much they love K-State Athletics. Even when I lived in Wichita, I would always see purple and people representing the Cats. It just always impressed me.

SE: I know you haven't been in Manhattan too long, but what are your thoughts on the town so far?

DS: I like it. I like the fact that it's a college town. I like the fact that everybody is all about K-State Athletics. I don't like big cities, I think I fit in much better with a smaller city. I enjoy the more intimate family atmosphere too. So, so far I love it.

SE: What do you think of the Mike Goss Tennis Stadium?

DS: It's beautiful and people here are so proud about it. That makes me excited, and I think it'll be a great advantage for recruiting. Bringing girls on campus and seeing it, that this is our home, we don't share with everyone and we're proud of it, that's very exciting.

SE: Are you excited to play in the Big 12?

DS: Yes! I consider myself a college tennis junkie. I know all the teams and the coaches. We played them when I was at Wichita and we played against some of the Big 12 teams when I was at McNeese, so I'm super excited to be in this conference. The Big 12 is one of the best tennis conferences in the country. Obviously, the Big 12 itself is one of the best conferences in the country. That's exciting, a little scary, but exciting.

SE: Having seen success on the courts at Arizona as a collegiate athlete yourself, do you find it easier to relate to the student-athletes you coach?

DS: I think it's a big advantage. I can relate to them very well, they can relate to me and trust me. I was in their shoes not too long ago, so I know what they're feeling. The struggles, the daily challenges, I've been through them too, and I think that helps me as a coach a lot. 

SE: Finally, what are your goals for your time here at K-State?

DS: I'm very competitive, and obviously I do have goals, but I think it's a little too soon to set actual, tangible goals. I'm not going to sit here and say, 'In two years we're going to be this or that.' First off, I want to see the team, get to know them, start recruiting. I think right now the main goal is to really establish that culture, make sure the kids are taken care of, that they're happy and that they want to work hard for K-State. I think maybe in a few months we could really sit down and establish those tangible goals, but overall, I don't like to lose, and that's about it.
 
For Steinberg's complete bio, click here

We hope you enjoy K-State Sports Extra. We would like to hear your comments and any story ideas for future emails, so fire them our way. Contact Kelly McHugh or K-State Assistant AD for Communications Kenny Lannou.