John Taft joined the Amherst men’s tennis program in October of 2018. Prior to joining the Purple & White, Taft was the graduate assistant coach at Smith College for the last two seasons. His responsibilities included implementing practice plans, match coaching, recruiting, travel itineraries, and managing the programs budget. He also directed a youth summer tennis program for the Campus School.
Before Smith, he was in New Jersey coaching high performance junior tennis players from 2014 to 2017. A PTR certified professional, Taft coached and helped develop over 90 sectional and nationally ranked players that were 4-star recruits and higher. He used his expertise as a Dartfish Certified Technologist to break down video and match play to further develop the athletes through on-court training, and off-court sessions with thorough film analysis. While focusing on techniques and strategies, Taft was also able to lead the fitness development and mental toughness training on a daily basis.
Taft earned a B.S. in Physical Education from SUNY Cortland and a B.S. in Studio Art from SUNY Oneonta. A four-year student-athlete at SUNY Oneonta, he was named to the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Men's Tennis All-Conference First Team in singles and doubles. Taft also amassed a SUNYAC All-Academic Team selection in 2011. During his undergraduate studies, he trained and competed at the Saddlebrook Tennis Academy and the Eastside Racquet Club.
Taft was a volunteer assistant for the first semester at SUNY Cortland, before he was hired as the full-time assistant coach for the 2012-13 season. While there, he served as a Teaching Assistant in three different courses and was inducted into the Tau Sigma Honor Society for his academic efforts. Taft is also a 13 year United States Tennis Association (USTA) member.
"We are excited to have John on board after Noah's departure to join the Wake Forest Staff" said Doebler, "John is a real student of the game, tireless worker and is very passionate about college tennis."