Steve Mauro hid his love for tennis while growing up in Yonkers and The Bronx, New York. At seven years old, his mother took him to a nearby park at a court, which he kept from a secret.
“I would play all the time and not tell my friends,” Mauro said. “I guess it’s not very cool, but it’s always a sport that I had a passion for. I studied it as much as I could, as many videos as I could, just really got into learning the game inside and out. ”
Mauro’s love of tennis carried him to the Temple University men’s tennis team for more than 200 wins, and he has led the women’s team to the All-Atlantic 10 awards 13 different times. He holds the Owls to a high standard and uses his coaching and competing experience to develop the program’s skills.
For his 200th win, the men’s team came just last month, in a 5-2 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson University on March 8, and since then, Mauro has extended his wins to 206.
During his 17 years with the program, Mauro has coached 12 men’s players to All-Atlantic 10 honors and the last 15 years, having only had six losing seasons.
When he came to Temple in 2005, Mauro focused on listening to his players’ opinions and their coaching style. His friendliness and positive mindset drives both teams to success, said senior men’s player Louis Gorregues.
“When we really like the finish points, when we’re aggressive,” Gorregues added. “He’s more oriented towards the mental aspects of the game. He also likes the fact that we have a different mentality than other players. He says ‘Temple TUFF.’ That’s what separates us from others. ”
Mauro asks for instilling values, like camaraderie and integrity, and gives the players an easy transition over joining program, as well as finding a connection with each other. He’s created a tight-knit squad about honest conversations, said senior men’s player Thibault Frumholz.
“[Mauro’s] Impressive, ”Frumholz said. “He tries to help the court, but also outside. I knew we could have a closer relationship with other coaches than I had in the past. ”
Mauro teaches his players to prioritize their tennis careers as much as their academics. Both programs have maintained a minimum 3.0 grade point average and a high graduation rate for the last 10 years, he said.
While coaching at Temple, Mauro uses his previous experience as a tool to take each tool to a higher level, he said.
But Mauro didn’t start his career playing competitive tennis. He played ice hockey while attending Fordham Preparatory School at The Bronx and Upsala College, New Jersey but he continued to play tennis on the side, competing in local tournaments and fun.
After graduation, Mauro held many roles in the tennis world, including a full-time professional instructor at Fossler Cheltenham Tennis Center at Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, and director of tennis at the Talamore Country Club. Eventually, he took his knowledge from those jobs and became a coach.
“I also worked at a couple different tennis clubs, but my real passion was coaching,” Mauro said. “I enjoyed doing that, and I think that helped me with my skills as a coach.”
Mauro had his first coaching stint at Ursinus College two years before taking on Temple’s men’s team in 2005. He made an immediate impact, guiding the Owls to a 17-8 record that erased Temple’s last-place finish.
“I had to rebuild the thought of making a top team,” Mauro said. “We wanted to compete on the national level. We just kept working at it. Now, we have a reputation. The program has just gotten stronger and stronger every year. “
In 2008, after women’s tennis coach Traci Green resigned, Mauro assumed her role. He also led the team in a 17-win season his first year, and has been coaching both squads ever since.
Juggling two teams at once is challenging, but Mauro praises the coaches around him for scouting opponents and recruiting aspects for research players, he said.
“All these different places I’ve worked with have a lot of resources,” Mauro said. “That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been successful. As a coach, you have to be flexible and mix things up. I’m always trying out different things, doing a lot of research, talking to different people. I enjoy that aspect of it. ”
Mauro has one match in mind that he won’t forget. In 2019, The Owls narrowly beat Tulane University, a team ranked No. 17 in The Nation a few months ago, at The American Athletic Conference Championships in Orlando, Florida.
The victory gave the men’s tennis program a reputation as a competitive team, and how much more it has shown to the coach, he said.
“I have done a great experience here,” Mauro said. “As long as they have me, I plan on being here. I don’t see myself going anywhere. I want to continue to grow this program and be a top school in the country. ”