June 29, 2022

35: Parenting & Coaching with UGA Tennis Coach, Jeff Wallace

35: Parenting & Coaching with UGA Tennis Coach, Jeff Wallace

On today’s episode Brittany is chatting with her dad, Jeff Wallace, who is also the Women’s Tennis Coach at The University of Georgia. He just finished his 37th season and is the most winningest active women’s tennis coach, which is Brittany’s favorite fun fact about him.

In this episode you’ll hear
    •    About Jeff, his childhood, love for Athens, GA and coaching
    •    Two stories from Brittany’s childhood that are unforgettable
    •    His advice for college athletes & their parents
    •    Three major differences throughout his years as a coach
    •    His favorite things about coaching

Listen to Jarryd’s episode here!

Grab your iced coffee and let’s continue the chat over on Instagram @lifewithloverly


This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to Life with Loverly I'm your host, Brittany Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram. Grab an iced coffee and let's do life together.

Hi friends, welcome back to today's episode of Life with Loverly. I have another special guest for you guys. I have Loverly Grey D-A-D. Hi daddy.

Jeff: Oh, hi. I hadn't heard that for a while. And I think it kind of got changed to Papa Walley.

Brittany: That's true. 

Jeff: But I do remember those days, Loverly Grey D-A-D. That was fun.

Brittany: I know. The early days, right after I had started Loverly Grey and I guess two years in, when Instagram stories became a thing, I would sometimes show my dad, and this was before we had kids or anything. And he would always be like, I'm, Loverly Grey D-A-D.

Jeff: I don't know why that just popped into my head, but the very first time that you interviewed me that just kind of came into my head. And then I kept using it. It was funny.

Brittany: My followers kept being like, where's the Loverly Grey D-A-D. So then it just fueled the fire. 

Jeff: Yeah, it's great. Well, it's great to be on your podcast. 

Brittany: Thank you. 

Jeff: Yeah. 

Brittany: So crazy, right? 

Jeff: It is crazy. You know, mom's been on it. Jared's been on it. Chris has been on it. Leah's been on the whole family except for me. What? Did you save the best for last? Or did you feel guilty and just have to have me on?

Brittany: We saved the best for last. Actually a lot of people have requested to have you on to learn a little bit more about your background in coaching. For those of you who don't know, my dad is the women's tennis coach at the University of Georgia. He just completed his 37th season as the women's head coach, which is so wild because this is the only job that you've ever had right?

Jeff: Yeah. It's kind of amazing when you think about it. I've I run into people in airports and start talking, having conversations, and I tell them yeah, I've had one job my whole entire life, and they're like, what? You know, so that is pretty unusual. I've been extremely blessed. 

Brittany: Yeah. And for a college coach, you know, not just any job. I've had several jobs, but you know, you have only had one job, and it's in a field that I feel like coaches go to different schools and work at, in different roles. But like, you've just been at the University of Georgia, the women's head coach. It's so cool. 

Jeff: Well, you better keep winning, right? When you're in the coaching business, obviously that's a very important aspect of it. But, I think the fact that I've been able to stay this long at my alma mater, the school that I graduated from, even makes it more special.

Brittany: Yeah. That's so crazy. And speaking of winning, fun fact that I always like to brag on my dad about is he is the nation's most winningest active tennis coach, 

Jeff: Which probably just means I'm getting old. Right? 

Brittany: No women's tennis coach has one more than you have in the whole nation. 

Jeff: Well, it's again, I've had some great assistant coaches and I've had so many amazing players that have come through this program and, it's been an awesome ride. This past year we got to the sweet 16, which was our 34th out of 37 times. We've reached the sweet 16 or beyond. So it was another good year. And I think the future's really bright.

Brittany: Yeah. It's funny. I was talking with mom before you came to record the podcast today. And she was like, I feel like the way you run your business in Loverly Grey is because you've watched your dad have so much success in his career. So that's just what your expectation is because that's what his expectation has been for himself and for his team and his players. And that's what your example has been. And I never really thought about it like that.

Jeff: Well, it is. Yeah, very interesting analogy. And, you know, I just finished my first week of tennis camp this summer today. We had 60 girls in town. It went really well, but I remember the days that you were like 13, 14, 15, and you were doing tennis camp and you're actually working tennis camp. And I can tell you this, by the time you're 15, you probably could have run the tennis camp. 

Brittany: So funny thinking back, we would stay in the dorm with the girls. And I had all like the back of my hand, running the camps for you. 

Jeff: Seriously, I thought you were just going to do that and not Loverly Grey. I thought you were just going to be my one continuous camp director, the rest of your life. 

Brittany: I know. And then I got a big girl job and he was like, but you're going to take off and come back for camp this summer right? And I was like, no, dad, I have a corporate job. I can't take off. 

Jeff: Somehow we manage, but I'm not sure how. 

Brittany: That's too funny. So before we kind of get into some questions, I figured it would be fun to share some old stories from when I was growing up, some maybe fun memories. But tell our listeners a little bit about who you are, where you're from and some of your back story before we get into everything.

Jeff: Yeah. So I did not grow up in the state of Georgia. I came from a long way away, actually Portland, Oregon is where I went to high school and grew up, and, ended up coming here and, and watching the NCAA tournament in Athens and thought, wow, what an incredible event. What a great place, what an awesome college town. I ended up coming to school here and played college tennis for the legendary coach, Dan McGill. And met your mom, who was on the track team at the time, recruited from Canada to be on the track team. One of the very first early track programs at the University of Georgia. And we both lived in Oglethorpe house. O house they call it for short. I was on the ninth floor and she was on the seventh floor and we met the second quarter, back then we were on the quarter system. So we met the second quarter. And we had a chemistry class together. And so I always tell everybody I'm not so sure how much I learned about chemistry except the chemistry and your mom. I mean, it's just perfect.

Brittany: It's actually funny you bring this story up because our podcast listeners have actually heard me tell a story about when you and mom went on your first date and you rode in the elevator.

Jeff: Well, we really don't have to go there. Do we? They've already heard it. 

Brittany: But it's just funny that you guys met here and then you got the coaching job right away and stayed in Athens.

Jeff: Yeah both of us coming from such a long way away. And, at the time I was finishing my degree, my fifth year, and just helping the men's program and the women's job opened up and I was just super fortunate. I think about 90 people applied for it. And, I was able to capture that job.

 Coach Dooley was awesome. Liz Murphy was awesome. Dan McGill. All the people that were kind of in charge of the search were just wonderful. And I just thought it was a great opportunity to be able to stay here and coach. My playing career was a lot of fun. I just really enjoyed being on teams , and playing college tennis at the University of Georgia. And I thought it'd be really great. The men's team back in 1985, just won their first national championship. And the women's team actually didn't even have a national ranking, had never had one. And so I thought it'd be really cool to, you know, develop and build something that was on the level of where our men's team was. I thought we had all the tools and the opportunities to do that. And, here we are, we blink and it's 37 years later. 

Brittany: That's so crazy. So you grew up in Portland, Oregon. He didn't mention this yet, but he is one of three boys. The youngest. Some of the stories I could sit and listen to you tell stories from your childhood, just with your brothers and rambunctious things that you guys used to get into.

Jeff: Yeah. My dad was just super active and he always had something going on. He loved water skiing, snow skiing. He built a water ski jump on a lake and you know, we used to go flying off that thing. He hung around all these guys who would barefoot water ski. We would snow ski in the winter and he built a trailer that could hold five motorcycles. He had it custom built and we would go motocross riding. And we were always doing something playing in ping pong, table tennis leagues. There was just always something going on. And so Ron, Gary and myself, we were busy and we would get into it at times. We had rough house, you know, three boys obviously, we've got some great stories. Probably none of which I should tell. You'll probably lose some of your followers. 

Brittany: I always thought it was so funny. Didn't grandpa build a dirt bike track at your house or somewhere close by?

Jeff: He did close by. We had a go-kart track. I mean, we were always doing something. It was just crazy. I mean, it was just always a lot of fun and all our friends would get involved. I guess it kind of kept us out of trouble because we were so busy having fun with my dad.

Brittany: Yeah. It's kind of funny because I think you took your love of water sports and we grew up doing a lot of water sports and outdoor activities. And I remember one time uncle Gary was visiting and you guys went to Lowe's and got a piece of plywood. And it was like, what kind of random thing can we create to pull behind the boat that we could stand on? Or, how can we use a piece of plywood in the lake? 

Jeff: Yeah. So we cut this piece of plywood in a circle and made what we called the disc. And then we'd start riding on the disc and you can do circles. And it's really slippery. I mean, it just glides across the water. You're not going too fast. And then we kind of got bored with that. So we said, well, we need to get a three foot step ladder. So we got a step ladder and we put on the disc and then we'd climb the step ladder. And it looked like, you know, from people on a different dock, you're just riding on a step ladder on the water. And then we got to the point, well now what can we do? So we started learning to do 360 circles on top of the step ladder on top of the disc and talk about some great wipe outs before you learn to do that. 

Brittany: I think back to those pictures we have on the fridge at the lake of you guys doing all of these crazy activities. But those are such fun memories from growing up. But I know the outside looking in it's like, that is so weird. What are they doing? 

Jeff: Yeah. I always loved that one picture of Gary and I where we were double barefoot and behind a jet ski and giving each other a high five with the water just spring everywhere. That was, really cool. 

Brittany: It looked like butteries. Like the water, the way it shot up. It looks like butterflies, like water flying everywhere. It was always so interesting to look at from the dock or from behind you guys when y'all do that. So I feel like one thing that people don't really know about me is we did so many outdoor things. I feel like looking at me now, you wouldn't think I spent all this time camping and doing all this stuff growing up.

Jeff: Well, you know, your mom being from Canada, and she spent a lot of time in the outdoors, camping, and, me being from Oregon. And as I was talking earlier about my dad and we would go, motocross riding a lot of times we would do tent camping along with that. We just kind of both grew up doing that. And so obviously when we had you guys. We thought, well, this was a great childhood experience for us, so let's take our kids camping. We used to go up to the North Georgia Mountains and do a lot of trout fishing that type of camping. And, then when we started doing more lake activities and we got a boat, we would go to Lake Hartwell and do a lot of camping in the camp grounds there. And our camping was very primitive type camping. I mean, this wasn't bring the microwave. It was just tent, primitive, camping. 

Brittany: Build a fire cook the food over the fire, or I think some of the campsite had the grill that you would add the charcoal to and light up and we would cook dinner there. 

Jeff: Yep. And I remember the one time that we were camping and, we were actually right next to where the bathrooms were located, which was convenient. And it seemed like we were the only ones in the campground and, I think it was a weekday in the middle of the summer. And, you were young, and you went up to the bathroom by yourself. Which you could see the bathroom from where our campsite was. And all of a sudden I hear this, deathly scream, like what in the world? And so obviously I just take off sprinting, running up the hill. I mean, it took me seven seconds to get to the bathroom. And you're in behind a stall and the door's locked and you're screaming like crazy. And, you know, as a father, your adrenaline just starts pumping like crazy. So I just leaped over on top of the, the thing. And I look at, and you're standing pretty much on the back of the toilet. There's a spider, there's a spider. And I'm like, are you kidding me? 

Brittany: Then you were stomping on it, and I think you came to the realization that it was already dead.

Jeff: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It had been in there probably for a year and it was already dead.

Brittany: I was so panicked and it's just crazy. I feel like there was parental adrenaline, because you literally leaped over the stall in the women's bathroom to get to me and I just remember being like, how did you just do that?

Jeff: Well, you know, it's funny because, I had no idea. But you hear stories about somebody trapped under a car and people lift it up and things like that. Now I get that because you really can't have almost superhuman adrenaline in situations like that, it was just crazy. 

Brittany: I know, I think about that. Anytime I see a spider I'm like, oh my! It takes me back. Like flashback. I'm like, dad, he saved me from the spider. My mom came flying in afterwards and she realizes what happend and she's just dying, laughing. I mean, it wasn't funny, but it was. Kind of funny after.

Jeff: After everything was okay. It was hilarious. But during the moment, it wasn't funny at all, but you know what? I think Collins actually has your spider gene. 

Brittany: Yes. She does not like bugs. 

Jeff: No, she doesn't 

Brittany: A fly or not even anything crazy will like fly by, and she gets like, daddy, there's a spider, Papa, spider. 

Jeff: She got that from you.

Brittany: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I feel like there's so many stories. One other one that I think is kind of funny that we should tell before we get into some of these questions. Do you remember when I drove you home from getting lasik eye surgery? 

Jeff: Oh my gosh. Oh my goodness. Yes, I do.

Brittany: Okay. I think you think it's way worse than how it actually went down, but you had your eyes closed, so you couldn't see what I was seeing. 

Jeff: Right. And well, I just had lasik and I had those sunglasses on, because for the first while you have to wear them you know, until the next morning, I guess, but yeah, go on. 

Brittany: Yeah. This is over Christmas break, this was right around the time Jared had had all of his initial surgeries. If you guys have listened to his story on the podcast, you know, the timeframe we're talking about. And my dad had an appointment to get lasik eye surgery, and I was home from college and I was like, well, I'll take you and drive you to Atlanta and drive you back. No big deal. And so we're driving back and after you have the surgery, you're supposed to keep your eyes closed for like a couple hours. 

Jeff: Yeah. 

Brittany: I was like, no worries. You sit in the front seat, lean your seat back, you close your eyes, fall asleep. I'll get us home safely. No big deal. And mind you, I mean, my dad taught me how to drive. I feel like I am a good driver based off of your teachings. 

Jeff: You're a great driver. I totally agree with you. But you know, every dad out here can probably relate to the fact that you're still my daughter and, and there's always these things that happen, but go on.

Brittany: So we're driving home and in between Atlanta and Athens, there's this highway called 316 and if you've ever driven on it, it's like, lights after lights after lights. But you're going like 65, 70, and then you have to stop at a light and then you're going fast, and have to stop at a light. So we kind of get up to a light and there's a car in front of me, and the light turns yellow. We had plenty of time. If the car would've just gone through the yellow light, I would've followed suit. It wouldn't have been a problem. Well, the car in front of me slams on their brakes, which causes me to slam on my brakes. I'm in the left lane. So in the right lane, as we are slamming on the brakes, there is a huge semi truck that is going through the light. And that passes right next to my dad's side of the car, the big swoosh and I think the combination of the truck passing and me slamming on the brakes, literally. I just remember you kind of sitting up like waving your arms, like what is happening? 

Jeff: I'm surprised my lasik surgery actually even worked after that moment.

Brittany: I know. And so of course, for years to come, he's always like, oh, remember that time that you drove us. We get home and you're like, Sabina you're never going to believe what we just went through. As if it was like some crazy adventure, 

Jeff: But the best part was the next morning when I woke up, I actually could see. Yeah, it was amazing. So we all, we got through it. 

Brittany: My job was done. Nobody was injured in the ride home. It was just so funny. That's another thing I always think about like it's just these core memories. I will never forget the spider story. I will never forget the like lasik car story. And it's just these core memories that you just remember. 

Jeff: For sure. No doubt about it. 

Brittany: So let's kind of get into a little bit about when I first started Loverly Grey what were you thinking? 

Jeff: Well, I mean, that was really interesting becasue I remember you and Chris coming to mom and I, and presenting this scenario of I'm thinking about doing this and you know, what do you guys think? I think mom was a little hesitant at the beginning. I think Chris was completely hesitant. And I was a little bit more like, well, you guys are young and if this thing doesn't work out, you'll be fine. You can go back and find another job like you have right now. So, I mean, if you're ever going to do something like this, this is the perfect time to do it. I mean, at the stage that your mom and I were at, we're not going to be able to, just jump into and take a leap of faith and do. But, I remember almost, I don't know want to say talked him into it, but I was like, Chris, go for it. You guys are young and it'll all work out one way or another. And if it doesn't, you know, you'll move on to other things. So yeah, I thought it was actually really cool. And I think maybe the main thing that your mom and I could see was your passion for what you wanted to start and what you wanted to do. And I think that gave us a lot of confidence and I think eventually it really gave Chris a ton of confidence too. In life when you're as passionate about something, as you are about Loverly Grey. Good things are going to happen. 

Brittany: Yeah. It was definitely scary because I started it as just a side project, like fun sharing outfits. And then I think the time you're referring to is when I was going to leave my corporate job. 

Jeff: Exactly. 

Brittany: And you were. Definitely more encouraging mom was kind of like, are you sure this is a good idea? And Chris was like, I feel like I'm going to be sick. 

Jeff: That's exactly how it was. 

Brittany: You definitely encouraged him. And it's so crazy to see where it is now. And I think even for him to, be working here full time and just this whole circle of things, I don't know. I've always kind of been like, I wonder what my parents think about what's happening, because I mean, you guys see it as we're sharing a lot of our life. There's a lot of video. I feel like I try to be like respectful and private and you know, when we're doing family things together, it's not like, we're like, okay, camera's on and everybody, you know, is acting. 

Jeff: I think that's one of the neat things that you've done a really great job of quite honestly. Obviously you just hit a million followers and that's a really neat thing. But, you know, when we have our family time, I mean, you're our daughter and Jared's sister and you know, what have you. It's almost like it's not even a thing. Which I think is good for you too, and refreshing, but we know how busy you are and, and we see how hard you work and all the great things that you're able to do because of this. But it's a lot, and it's a lot of work and, and we're certainly impressed and proud of how hard you've worked and how serious you've taken this and what a great job you've done through it. But I think it's great sometimes to get away from it. And a lot of times when we just have our family dinners or we go on a trip or what have you, or just together, it's just back to normal. It's just us.

Brittany: Yeah. And that's, I feel like one thing I love about us being back in Athens is that closeness that we have it almost whenever we do a family dinner, you guys come over, allows me to live in the moment and not have to like be on stories or do something. So it's almost helps me to put my phone away and really enjoy that family time. So I think one thing about being back in Athens has definitely made that easier for me to make sure that I always do.

Jeff: For sure. It's really great, that we're all so close. As grandparents and parents, both your mom and I just feel super blessed every day that we've got all the kids and, and you guys right close to us.

Brittany: So how do you feel about being a Papa? 

Jeff: Oh, it's, it's amazing. I mean, it's the best ever, you know, people talk about it and they say, oh wait till you become a grandfather. It's so cool. It's even better than what people describe. So, yeah, it's just been so much fun. You see Collins and Hazel and Levi and, and soon to be another one with, with Jared and Leah. But, it's the greatest thing ever. You can probably see your mom and I, and just the smile on our face every time we get to see the kids, it's just fantastic.

Brittany: I think it's really cool that mom is always like, your dad just loves being a Papa. And I feel like when Jared and I were younger, you were also in the thick of your career and you were traveling and doing things for your job. And so now you can enjoy our kids and it's just like a little bit different because you can give them back 

Jeff: It is a little different there and you're absolutely right about that. But sometimes we don't want to and we have to, but other times we actually do want to. But yeah. Been a lot of fun where again, it's awesome that you guys are so close.

Brittany: When we were growing up, you know, dad mentioned on here that he is from Oregon, my mom's from Canada and your parents both lived in those cities, and still do, but, we didn't have grandparents close by. And so now that you guys are here, it's such a different feeling because I never had that growing up. So I think it's so cool for the kids to be around their grandparents all the time. 

Jeff: Oh, it really is. And, and quite honestly, sometimes it makes me sad for her parents and my parents. That they didn't have the opportunities that we now have, because now that I see how special it is. You know, at the time we're just raising you guys and we're just busy in life and what have you. And you know, now that I'm doing that, it's like, wow, I really hate that my parents missed out on the opportunity to see you and Jared and all the things that you guys did. So there's that too

Brittany: Yeah. It's so cute to hear Hazel be like where's Papa, where's Papa. I just am like, oh, I'm so glad she knows her Papa and spends time with him. And it's just the sweetest little thing.

Jeff: It sure is. 

Brittany: Happy to be close to you guys for sure.

All right. Let's switch gears a little bit and. About coaching. Obviously you have tons of years of experience under your belt. How has being a coach been valuable in parenting and vice versa? 

Jeff: You know, obviously having over a hundred players come through my program, college age, I just have been around young people my whole life. And sometimes, although obviously I'm not their parent, but you're kind of a parent figure to them. A lot of the things that we go through learning the discipline of, the practices and the matches and the, and the ups and the downs of winning and losing and you know, all this kind of stuff. I mean, that just happens so naturally on a daily basis when you're a coach and you're around these young student athletes and obviously a lot of that you bring home. But you also bring the values to have it home into your coaching too. Sometimes there were certainly weeks and months where I was spending more time with my team than I was with you guys.

You know, I would obviously miss a lot of the things that you guys would do. The after school activities and, things like that because I'm at practice or traveling with my team. So yeah, I think that they both played off each other nicely and, I think that especially, you know, coaching, women's tennis, being that your mom was an ex athlete, you know, a Canadian national cross country champion and an amazing runner at the University of Georgia being married to an athlete. I think that, there were a lot of times where I'm like, you know, what do you think about this? Because, I think this is how coach McGill handle it. And well, you know, coach McGill, coached guys, and you're coaching girls. So you might want to think about it like this. I'm like. Oh, well, that makes no sense to me, but okay. Let's give that a shot. There are always those things. So honestly, having your mom, it was just such a great, especially, because I was 23 years old when I first started. I was one of the youngest coaches in the country, now I'm one of the oldest. When I first started, I mean, having your mom there, just to, go home at night and talk with her and this and that way that it was so helpful.

I mean, it was absolutely so helpful and still is. I think that, you know, you're coaching your team and you're coaching your kids. 

Brittany: It's funny you say that about like being 23 and so young, because I feel like from your first team or first few teams, some of y'all's really close friends now were girls from that first tennis team and you guys still hang out and see them every year.

Jeff: Yeah. We have an annual reunion where the first five girls I gave scholarships to and their husbands and Sabina and I go spend a weekend together, which is really cool. And we have a whole lot of fun and just do a lot of great things. That's a pretty special thing that we've got going on with, some of the really, really early ones. 

Brittany: And correct me if I'm wrong. I don't know if this is true or not, but you coached Liz during this first year and then later coached her daughter. 

Jeff: That's correct. 

Brittany: On the team for four years. Does any other coach coached a kid of somebody they coached? 

Jeff: Well, again, you're making me feel old, but, yeah. I have coached a mom and a daughter and I've coached, two different sister, sister combinations, and I've coached identical twins. And I have my second mother daughter situation coming this next year.

Brittany: Really?

Jeff: Yeah. This means I've been doing it an awful, long time and, I'm getting old, but it's really special. I remember when Elizabeth Alexander Brinson first came to University of Georgia and she was a really good player and had a great career and, met her husband, Steve, and they, got married and had Caroline and also Blake, but Caroline then later came and, played for me at the University of Georgia. And, my big goal was for her to have at least as good a career as her mom, if not better. And, she did some pretty special things. 

Brittany: Yeah.

Jeff: And did really, really well and still super successful working in Atlanta. So, yeah. That's been a really cool part of coaching when things like that happen.

Brittany: Yeah. It's funny because one of the twins, so Sean and Shannon. 

Jeff: Yeah. So Shannon McCarthy and her daughter's coming Haley, this next year. 

Brittany: Which is crazy because I didn't even realize that's who it was because Carson used to babysit for us. Exactly. Yeah. And so full circle. You know, I'm like a baby when these girls are on the team and then their kids are babysitting for my kids and it's like, it's so wild.

Jeff: It's a small world, right? 

Brittany: Yeah. That's so exciting that, Haley will be joining the team. Yeah. So I guess kind of continuing on, as you have parents who. Athletes on your team. What would be some advice that you have for the parents of student athletes? 

Jeff: Yeah, I mean, I think that we go through this whole recruiting process and they're looking at different schools and, and, I think it's just really important for them to help their daughters find a team that, that they know that they're going to really fit into and thrive in. Teammates are huge and find the coaches that, you know, you're going to trust and that they're going to have the best interest in your daughter in mind, realizing that a lot of decisions are going to be team decisions. And not everything always goes your daughter's way per se, but, realize that you've gotta be as trust in the system that that's there. And I really think trust is, is a, is a huge word. And, and, there's always ups and downs to your college years. No matter if you're a student athlete or a regular student, I mean, it's a time of life where you're, you're growing to enter the real world. And, not everything just happens perfectly, but, But I, you know, I just feel like that, you have to pick a school where you just ultimately really trust the athletic department, the coaches that they're going to have the best interest in your daughter in mind.

Brittany: Yeah. When I was in high school and obviously you were coaching, I always appreciated that I didn't feel this like pressure from you to, you have to play tennis. Like you have to like join the tennis team and you need to go to get a college scholarship. Like, I always appreciated the, you kind of let us figure out our path. And if we wanted to do sports, you guys encouraged us to do that. whereas I feel like some people it's like, well, this was my path, so this is going to be your path. 

Jeff: Sure.

Brittany: And I feel like that can. Be dicey from time to time.

Jeff: Well, it can be. And you know, I think your mom and I were pretty, high level elite athletes. For you guys, we just wanted you to be healthy and happy and, and, and active. And, and so we just introduced you to a lot of different sports and other things and, and, we figured that, You know, whatever happens, you know, it'll be because you have some passion for it. And, we call you our internet athlete now, you know? Yeah. Jared our professional athlete and you're our internet athletes. 

Brittany: I come from a family of elite athletes and I am the internet athlete of the group. 

Jeff: There it is. So, you know, but honestly, I mean, I never really, you know, I felt, I, I guess maybe I've just seen it too much where people are a little pushed, a little too hard in the wrong direction and, and the kids don't really, they're not having that much fun. They're not enjoying it. And, you know, I never wanted you guys to be in, in that type of environment. I just wanted you to do things that were, were fun for you and that you enjoyed doing that you had passion for, and whether that was sports or. Great. If it's something else that's just as good too.

Brittany: I know we always joke or Chris and I are like, okay. So when Collins is old enough to get a tennis rocket in her hand, like Papa's going to be her private coach. 

Jeff: Now, the grandchildren are a different story. they're going to be on the tour.

Brittany: Exactly. 

Jeff: We're going to have a professional golfer, a professional tennis player, you know? No, obviously I'm sure it'll be a lot the same for them too. 

Brittany: Yeah. So what are three of the biggest differences in coaching that you've experienced over the years? Because I feel like you've seen a lot as a coach. 

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, I think that one thing is facilities. For most part, we've been, you know, we're super fortunate here at the University of Georgia. We've got great facilities, but you know, you look around, the country and everybody's just growing bigger and better and more awesome facilities. And you look at what Kirby's done with our football facility. It's absolutely incredible. And. You know, those are the things that it takes to recruit and win today.

And so I, you know, here at the University of Georgia, it's, it's just been absolutely amazing to see. And we're about to build a new, massive indoor tennis facility. That's a nice hefty price tag. And so that's going to be really exciting. So I think you used to go to schools and you would just see, okay, they're their tennis course, but now they've got stadiums and they've got indoors and they've just got, you know, so many things like that. I think that's one thing. And, and then, you know, the, the newest thing that's happening around the world of college athletes is this N-I-L name, image, likeness stuff, where athletes can actually get paid beyond their scholarship, through, collectives and, companies and it used to be like, we would have to, oh no, no, you can't even talk to them or no, you can't have your picture there.

Oh no, you can't, you know, all these NCAA rules like that now it's like, you can kind of almost do somewhat of anything and it, and so that's really totally different and it's new. And I don't know if it's a sustainable model, but it'll be interesting to see, to follow this a little bit, and see, you know, what all shakes out there. And I just think, you know, campuses, I mean, College towns have gotten bigger and universities and major cities have just, gotten bigger. And so I, you know, I always enjoy going to all the different campuses and I think it's fun for our team when we go see different campuses and, and then we get close to Athens and I go, now we're about to pull into the greatest campus in America guys at University of Georgia.

And, , so I love saying that, and it's true because I always want to point out, you know, Hey, here's a really cool part about this school. I mean, this is beautiful and everything, but man, it just makes the University of Georgia look even that much better with, everything we got going on around here.

Brittany: Yeah. It's so true. There's so many great parts of the University of Georgia and the. Town of Athens thrives. It's like the town of Athens thrives because of the University and the University thrives because of the town of Athens. It kind of all coincides, which is really cool. 

Jeff: And it's a great music town. I mean, this Saturday night, we're going down to see the sundogs that are Tom petty cover band. I mean the Georgia theater. I mean, how many, you know, two miles from our house, how many, you know yeah. You know, you live in a big city, you're not able to do those kind of cool things. So, yeah, it's just a the greatest college town. It's absolutely incredible. 

Brittany: Who are some of the bands that you guys used to listen to that like R-E-M started here?

Jeff: Yeah, I remember, when I was in school, back in 1984, we would go down to this little place downtown called Tyrone's and watch this group called R.E.M.. And there were about 15 people in there and this guy, Michael St is just tearing it up. And, then they came out with their first album and we were playing a tournament out in California, in Los Angeles. And, we just got done with our first day of practice and we were, walking downtown in Westwood. And, they had our tower records company, I think it was called tower records. Yeah. Right there. And they had all these R.E.M. posters up. And so we walked in and we said, yeah, you guys are from Athens. You're from University, all that new band rim. They're so cool. And I'm like, no, no, no, it's not rim it's R.E.M. So I'll never forget that story. And, yeah, the B-52's and widespread. So many bands that have come out of Athens, and there's so many bands that come through here and wanna play because it's such a great music scene. 

Yeah, it's funny. Because earlier this year I actually met somebody who was best friends with Mike, his name's Mike Stipe 

Brittany: Michael Stipe Yes. And so she's telling us all these stories about like R.E.M. from the beginning days. And I was just like, I wish you and my dad could get in a room together because I feel like y'all have some of the same stories. You were probably at some of the same concerts. 

Jeff: Oh, I'm sure we were. Yeah.

Brittany: Steve. What is that that people say? Like every person is like six degrees of separation from. Knowing somebody. 

Jeff: Yeah, for sure. 

Brittany: I feel like that as I get older, like that is becoming more and more true.

Jeff: Yep. And you know, me, my background, I can't sing. I can't play, I can't do anything, but I love music. And I listen to music all the time and I grew up going to a lot of concerts in Portland and have continued doing that. I love live shows.

Brittany: Some of your concert stories from growing up are some of my favorite stories. Just listening to how you guys used to see concerts and y'all would drive in your parents cars. Did they even know? 

Jeff: Yeah, I mean, you know, I was real quick when I, when I was in high school, one time I saw Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers three nights in a row in three different cities. So I guess I was a group. You came to a D.C., then Seattle and then Portland and, Lot of, lot of side stories about that, but, yeah that was a lot of fun.

Brittany: Yeah. And it's funny because Tom Petty, you've brought him through like your whole life and through our family, we grew up listening to Tom Petty and you and I danced at my wedding to a Tom Petty song. 

Jeff: Yeah. Probably my favorite band of all times. I'm sad that, Tom had to pass away when he did. It was interesting. I was actually playing a tournament in Malibu, the all American tournament, which is at the Riveria Country Club and the pre-qualifying at Pepperdine University in Malibu. And we were eating at a restaurant when the sirens, the ambulances went by. And we didn't know it was Tom Petty in that ambulance.

And then, you know, about an hour later, it hit the radio stations that he's in the hospital and, right there in Santa Monica, which was across the street from the hotel we were staying in. And, then all the radio stations started playing Tom Petty songs and, and then they announced that he'd passed away. And then they came back and said, no, he hasn't passed away. And then two days later he did pass away. But that was kind of surreal too. Because I had seen him just several months before that at Jazz Fest in New Orleans and in Atlanta. Two out of three nights, you know, on his last tour. Which no one knew at the time that would be his last tour 

Brittany: I know. And he played our song and we were there together. So we had our little father-daughter dance again. At, I guess it was Phillips because that was before Mercedes Stadium. That's so funny. It's just crazy. I guess, taking back to tennis, we just have a few more questions, but what would you say is your favorite thing about being a tennis coach? 

Jeff: Well, I've always loved to compete and I think that's why I kind of got into college coaching. And so I just, I love to help people compete. And I think match days are really special. All the work that they've put in. The running and the practices and everything kind of, you know, comes to a head and now it's time to shine and go out there and compete and, you know, give it your best and try to get a win for your team. And I think that whole part of it, getting people prepared and ready to go out there and give it their best and support their teammates and, I think, is a special part of coaching. You know, I think the relationships that you see that, the players on your team develop and, and you watch them as they grow and later in life, and they're in each other's weddings and things of that nature. And they're just lifelong friends and stuff like that. I think now that I've done it this long, you know, that certainly is a really special part of coaching too.

Brittany: So a little back story last week, or actually a few weeks ago, we had somebody on the podcast, who's a life coach and she was talking to us about the importance of values and just identifying values within yourself, within your family, if it's like a value within your career. So. What would you say, as a coach or as a father would be one of your most important values?

Jeff: Well, interesting. I mean, maybe becasue this is just on my mind because I was talking to your brother about it yesterday. I've always felt like don't say something if you're not going to do it. You know? If you say something that you're going to do something, then you do it. And you know, whether it's just simple as, Hey, I'll call you back tomorrow. Call him back tomorrow, you know? Hey, I'll talk to you later today. Talk to him later today. You know, whatever, you need to say do, what you're say you're going to do. And, I've always felt like that was hugely important.

And, obviously there's so many other things, but I just feel like for me, that's been one that's just recently been on my heart. And your brother and I were talking about that yesterday, and Jared said something like, well, you know, that's why a lot of good things have happened to me, because I've seen that in you through all these years and, that's something I've always made sure that I do. And, follow up. You gotta follow up. If you say you're going to do something, do it, 

Brittany: Keep your word and follow up. I love that. Well, this episode has been so fun. I'm so glad you've finally arrived on the podcast. 

Jeff: Oh, it's fantastic. I've enjoyed my time with you. 

Brittany: Yeah. Perfect. Well, we appreciate you being here. I'm sure it would be fun to get you and mom back here together and do a little joint podcast. 

Jeff: Oh, that would be a blast, let's do it. 

Brittany: We will work on that, but thank you for joining us today and until next time. Thanks for listening to today's episode. I can't wait to continue these conversations with you over on Instagram.

Make sure to follow along at Life with Loverly until next time.

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