Dick Gould, the John L. Hinds Director of Tennis at Stanford University, has always done things his own way. During his 47 years on the Farm--38 as the men's head coach--he produced a 776-148 record and guided the Cardinal to 17 NCAA Team Championships. His players captured 10 NCAA singles titles and 7 NCAA doubles championships, with 50 earning All-America honors.
Gould expected a lot from his teams and they delivered. He treated everyone as an individual, instilled confidence, and had an uncanny way of bringing out the best in each player.
"The most enduring thing for me about Coach is his guys were consistently successful, were willing to make changes during the course of a match, and just fought tooth and nail for every point," said Paul Goldstein, '98, a four-time All-American and the first player in college tennis history to play on four NCAA-championship teams. "But they did so without sacrificing class or integrity. I think his players consistently earned the admiration and respect of those they competed against. And I think that is Coach Gould."
Alex O'Brien, '92, calls Gould a "living legend'' and said, "I think what he's done in college tennis has set him apart. He just had a formula for motivating guys. We didn't have any rules or curfews like most schools had. We basically had to show up and win for our school. He had an amazing way of getting the most out of each player."
Goldstein played on a powerhouse squad his senior year that went 28-0 during the regular season, a group that included Mike Bryan, '00, Bob Bryan, '00, Ryan Wolters, '99, and Alex Kim, '01. During the course of the season, the team lost only three points.
"Statistically, it was probably the most dominant team in college tennis history," Goldstein said.
So good, that Gould let the players decide who played 1-through-4 in singles matches.
"On an airplane ride back from a tournament in Louisville, Kentucky, one of us wrote on a cocktail napkin a rotation system for the top four players and everything went perfectly," said Goldstein. "Each of those players played the same amount of matches at 1, 2, 3, and 4. The napkin lasted the entire year."
O'Brien loved playing for Gould. He was also a four-time All-American and played professionally, ranking No. 1 in the world as a doubles player in 2000 and No. 30 in singles in 1997.
"I think he was a psychologist, because he always knew how to push each guy's button," he said. "And then he was also just a great guy and a lot of fun to be around. He was a guy who did everything to the nth degree."
Gould wasn't just a tennis coach; he taught life lessons as well.
"I remember one time he was in his office returning a phone call," said O'Brien. "He said, `Hey, if I never teach you anything, return every phone call from every person that calls you. You remember that.' And he does."
Patrick McEnroe, '88, and older brother John starred at Stanford and remain close with their former coach. Patrick played on three U.S. Davis Cup teams and captained the winning squad in 2007, often using Gould as a sounding board.
"He embraces everything good about college sports," Patrick said. "He's just got boundless energy, optimism, and enthusiasm. What he's been able to accomplish as a leader is why I look up to him."
Gould also possesses a sense of humor.
"I remember playing a match early in the year against a guy who was ranked fourth in the country and I was a freshman," said O'Brien. "Coach came up and leaned on the screen and said, `Hey O.B., how's it going out there?' And I said, `Not so good, Coach. I'm down 6-2, 4-2.' And he goes, `Hey, you've got him right where you want him.' And he turned around and walked off. Gould has been an ardent supporter of the Buck/Cardinal Club, which helps fund scholarships and offset expenses for more than 850 student-athletes in 36 sports. He remains a tireless worker and great promoter on campus and in the community, and helped secure private funding to renovate the 3,500-seat Taube Tennis Center, home to Stanford tennis and the WTA's Bank of the West Classic since 1997.
"Sure, he was a great tennis coach and knew how to motivate a team, but the variety of experience he had with fundraising and being at every single meeting with engineers for the new stadium was really impressive," said Goldstein, who had a successful 10-year pro tennis career.
Gould was inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. He was enshrined into the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2006."He knew the rules of the game, but he also made it fun," said O'Brien. "We worked real hard. It was a great combination."