Orange Coast College dipped into its past to help pave the way for the future with the hiring of Michelle Esquivel as women's tennis coach. Esquivel replaces recently-retired coach Janice Maran.
Esquivel, 27, brings an impressive resume as a standout player at all levels, including one memorable season at OCC, in which she won state singles and doubles titles in 2005 as well as the Ojai Invitational singles title.
"To be able to come back here at OCC is pretty amazing," Esquivel said. "My goal after my playing career was over was to become a head coach at the collegiate level and to be able to come back to OCC — a place where I learned and accomplished so much — is a dream come true."
Esquivel comes to OCC after spending two seasons at Cypress College, where she was head coach of the women's team and an assistant for the men's team.
After a stellar, four-year varsity prep career at Sunny Hills High, Esquivel began her collegiate career at Santa Ana College, where she became the first woman in California community college history to win a singles state championship while enrolled in high school.
However, the Dons eliminated their women's tennis program and Esquivel transferred to Coast, where she continued to tear up the competition.
As a Pirate in 2005, Esquivel went undefeated in singles play en route to an individual state title and while partnered with standout Jessica Rice, the duo went 28-4 and captured the state doubles title, helping OCC win the overall team title as well.
"Even though I was here for just one year, I learned so much from Janice Maran during my time here," Esquivel said. "It wasn't so much the wins and losses, but the experiences that she taught us helped me strengthen as an individual. It was never about winning, but more about just giving 100% every time you stepped on the court.
"Now that I'm a coach, I consider myself relatable to the players. Yes, I'm competitive, but I'm also a very compassionate coach as well."
After playing at Coast, Esquivel moved on to Concordia University, where she was Eagles' MVP in 2006 and 2007. She played No. 1 singles and doubles both seasons. She worked her way up the rankings, getting as high as No. 16 nationally at the NAIA level and was a two-time NAIA All-American.
Esquivel earned her bachelor's degree in exercise sports science with emphasis in teaching and coaching from Concordia and later earned her master's degree in physical education from Azusa Pacific University.
Prior to her coaching career at Cypress, Esquivel earned some experience coaching players of all ages, both privately and at academy levels, including the Match Point Tennis Academy and the Upland Tennis Center.
Maran coached OCC for 35 seasons, winning 477 matches and eight state championships.
— From staff reports