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Married Coaches Share A Love For Tennis, Each Other

They don’t need flowers, romantic dinners or Hallmark cards to celebrate Valentine’s Day. They are just fine with being on the court hitting balls and helping their teams prepare for upcoming matches.

LSU Women Co-Head Coaches Julia and Michael Sell
© LSU Athletics

For married college coaches working at the same school, spending the day doing what they love with the person they love is enough for them.

Whether they are coaching the same team or seperate programs, they strive to create a family environment in every way possible.

“It’s not just the tennis, it’s the relationships you have with your players and with each other,” said Sewanee men’s coach John Shackelford, whose wife, Conchie, is the Sewanee women’s coach. “For us to be able to share that as a married couple is a wonderous and spectacular thing. I can’t imagine spending my career any other way.”

Julia and Michael Sell never imagined they would become co-head coaches for the LSU women. They weren’t even sure where they would live after they were married.

Along with her dress, Julia brought suits to her wedding thinking she may need to leave at a moment’s notice to interview for jobs at LSU or South Carolina in 2012.

Two weeks after they tied the knot, Julia was named the head coach at LSU. Michael had been working with the USTA, and they figured he would eventually find another job once they moved to Baton Rouge.

But during her first season, Julia’s assistant coach couldn’t start right away, so she asked Michael to help at practice.

“As it turned out, we were great partners as coaches,” Julia said. “I think on any college coaching staff it’s really important to have two coaches that complement one another. Mike and I as tennis coaches perfectly complement each other.”

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Page updated on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
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