Mandy Gamble, a former All-American, assumed the head coaching responsibilities of the Caltech Men's and Women's Tennis Teams in January 2002. In her three seasons as head coach, Gamble led the Men's Team to a NCAA DIII West Regional Ranking of 16, a 5th place finish in the Southern California Athletic Conference (SCIAC), and Caltech's only first round win in the prestigious Ojai Tournament. Each year the Women's Team has successfully reached its team goals and has consistently received the SCIAC Sportsmanship Award. In 2002 Coach Gamble, along with both the Men and Women's Tennis teams and the entire Caltech Athletic Department, received the most distinguished honor for any athlete--an induction into the National Sportsmanship Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island.
A 1995 graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, Gamble came to the United States from England in 1977 to continue her junior tennis career, where she won tournaments in Spain, United States, and England. Gamble was coached by Southern California coaching legend Robert Lansdorp. Active in Southern California tennis, Gamble has earned a Southern California Tennis Association #7 ranking in the Women's Open division.
What is important to you as a coach and what do you like
about the job?
As I coach, I find it important to continually grow by setting goals and continuing to educate myself in the sport. It is easy to become stagnate and comfortable--but that is not coaching to me. A coach must be hungry and passionate about what they do. Each day I coach, I learn something that will make me a better coach the following day. I love the excitement and adrenaline of being a coach. It is an amazing feeling being so invested in what you are doing. You don't turn off being a coach when you get home; it is a way of life and you must embody it.
What is your philosophy on winning and
My philosophy on winning and losing is to have short-term memory loss. It is about what happens today and tomorrow--not yesterday. Seriously, people say, "Winning is not everything," and, sure, I can agree with this, but there has to be a balance between winning and losing. You cannot underestimate the power of winning. It has the ability to transcend far beyond the playing field. The pride, confidence, and self worth that athletes, fans, schools, cities, and countries feel with an important victory should not be diminished. Losing hurts, so you can build a certain amount of character from that and learn from being in a losing situation. But to suffer loss after loss is not redeeming, and the value of your hard work and effort is lessened. Fortunately or unfortunately, keeping score and stats is a part of sports.
What do you like about being at Caltech?
I love the environment and atmosphere at Caltech. I enjoy being surrounded by students and faculty who are passionate about what they do. Caltech is a special place and I love it here.
What sports did / do you play?
I specialized in tennis when I was about 12 years old. But I played many competitive sports when I was younger. I've played netball, squash, rounders, lacrosse, track and field, fencing, horseback riding, and now I'm involved in cycling.
Who is your favorite athlete?
I admire Roger Federer; he has the best brain in tennis and no one has dominated the sport like he did last year. But my favorite tennis player is Andy Murray, an up-and-coming 19-year-old from Scotland. I also really admire his coach, Brad Gilbert, who wrote the book, Winning Ugly, which is a must-read for coaches.
What are your hobbies and interests? What do you do in
your spare time?
In my spare time I read, watch, and analyze pro tennis matches. I sometimes laugh at myself, as after eight hours of tennis at Caltech, I'll rush back home and fire up the TIVO to watch a pro tennis tournament. The only thing that competes with my passion for tennis is my golden retriever, Rocky, who quite a few members of the Caltech community know. He's a great dog, and I receive a great deal of satisfaction watching the joy Rocky brings to people.
Where are you from originally?
I'm half Scottish and English, but I grew up in England in a small town called Middleton-on-Sea in Sussex. I went to boarding school in Chichester, England, and came to Southern California when I was 18, to begin a career as a tennis pro.
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the rest
of your life?
If I won the lottery, I would build a new tennis pavilion at Caltech. And then, I'd buy a house with a pool so Rocky could go swimming.