Sports Women's Sports

Former Springfield tennis player Rachel Ahlmeyer leading tennis team this fall

By Nick Pantages

The Pride’s men’s and women’s tennis team began their fall season last week, but without a familiar face. Mike Louis stepped down after four years as the head coach of both programs on Alden Street, and the new lead coach is his former player and graduate assistant, Rachel Ahlmeyer. 

Ahlmeyer was a 2020 graduate, majoring in movement and sports studies, who also recently got her Master’s degree in athletic administration in 2022.

Ahlmeyer was also a four-year player for the Pride’s women’s tennis team, while carrying the honor of being a captain for her final two years. Ahlmeyer’s love for the Pride is very apparent. “I loved my experience being a student-athlete at Springfield College, from the second I started touring Springfield, I knew it was the place I wanted to be.”

After two years as a graduate assistant to her former coach, Ahlmeyer was offered the job of the lead coach of the Pride’s tennis teams, a job that was joyfully accepted. 

“I don’t really feel like there are words to describe how special of an experience that it has been,” Ahlmeyer said. 

During her time as a student-athlete with the Pride, Ahlmeyer gained valuable experience at the school through her four years as a player. 

“I think just having the experience of knowing what the core values of our program are is something that really sets other coaches apart,” Ahlmeyer explained. 

This positive experience and love for the school brought her back. Ahlmeyer’s experiences as a student-athlete led her to believe that this was her home, something she credits to the sense of community many have contributed to and successfully built at Springfield College.

As a young and first-year head coach, there are naturally struggles one will run into as the season progresses. But the always-optimistic Ahlmeyer had other thoughts about that. 

“Being a student-athlete not too long ago too, I’m able to relate to the shoes that they’ve been in, if they are having challenges in the classroom or there is something not going right with tennis, I am able to relate to them on a really personal level,” Ahlmeyer explained. 

Ahlmeyer’s role of coaching not only the women’s team, but the men’s team as well as balancing a full-time job as the graduate recruiting coordinator at the school of Physical Education, Performance, and Sport Leadership could be a lot for someone not even three years removed from graduating. 

However, Ahlmeyer’s determination and positivity prevents this from being a problem. She acknowledged the learning curve, while saying, “Being flexible has been huge.. I consider myself a very organized individual, so I think that helps a lot. Just being around this program has also really helped, people know that I’m experienced, I know this program, I have their best interests.”

Ahlmeyer repeatedly praised her assistant coaches and her support staff around her, saying, “I’ve also been relying on our assistant coaches a lot and they have stepped up in a really nice way as well as using our leadership counsel, they’ve really made the transition a lot easier.”

A source of personal pride for Ahlmeyer is senior Veronica Fulgieri. 

Ahlmeyer said, “[Veronica] actually was my doubles partner my senior year, and now seeing her as a senior is a wonderful full circle moment, it’s amazing to see the woman that she has transitioned into.”

Ahlmeyer will always retain her love for tennis, but the opportunity to coach at her alma mater will remain one of her most incredible opportunities. The ability for the sport Ahlmeyer loves to stay as an important aspect of her life will always be something she can cherish.

“It’s absolutely a dream come true,” Ahlmyer said.

“It’s amazing wearing Springfield College’s jersey as a student-athlete, but it’s a whole nother level wearing it as a coach to be able to represent a wonderful tradition of this program.”

With two strong teams by her side, she summed up her feelings for the program perfectly. 

“I’d cut off my right arm for this program, I love it in and out,” Ahlmeyer said.

Ahlmeyer will look to pave her own legacy as a coach now, spurred by her love of the school she considers home. 

Photo: Springfield College Athletics


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