Gamecocks' tennis coach has Lowcountry pedigree - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Gamecocks' tennis coach has Lowcountry pedigree

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) – The Gamecocks have established themselves as a national power on the tennis court. Last year, they finished 18th in the country and have won three straight matches this year.

On Sunday, the Gamecocks beat The Citadel in Charleston and it was quite the homecoming for the coach.

The man at the head of the team is Charleston-bred.

"I played for Porter Gaud and Bishop England. I wont a state title. That was the first taste of team competition I had," Josh Goffi said.

Goffi was hired as the head coach of the Gamecocks in 2010. Each year since, the team has been rebuilt. It's all part of his plan. But he didn't exactly plan to end up coaching.

"It was either being a world class player or get out and get into finance. I decided not to use my finance degree and fell in love with coaching for one reason. Chuck Kriese made such an impact on my life as a person; that's my job as head coach of the Gamecocks, to help these kids grow," he said.

It's a bit ironic since Kriese is now the head coach at The Citadel. He had been the legendary head coach at Clemson, where Goffi played.

"It was a little odd, The first few years were a bit tough. This is now my program -- 100 percent ours. Back when I played, I bled orange. Now I bleed garnet and black," he said.

And talk about going back to his roots, Goffi's assistant coach is another Charleston native and Clemson grad, Ryan Young.

"He's a big brother, a boss. He takes care of me. I've been learning the ropes of coaching and building great relationships. We both want to win so we work hard and really care about the kids," Young said.

So for Young and Goffi, nothing is more important for the Gamecocks than each year coming home to play against the coach that makes them feel at home.

"You see what you get and those guys got the right man there. What their guys learn is a non-compromised way of doing things. The reason The Citadel is great is you have rights of passage for what you earn. He makes his guys do the same thing at USC. I'm proud to see what's going on up there," Kriese said.

"There's nothing better than seeing these guys come through tough moments. There's not a better feeling than looking at adversity, look it in the eye and come through, seeing kids persevere. There's not a better feeling in the world. That's why we do it every day," said Goffi.

THe Gamecocks are deeply rooted in the Lowcountry and that means victory in Columbia.

  • Scott Eisberg

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