Sy relieves longtime fixture Donaghy to lead GCC women's tennis

It isn’t often that familiarity and change are traits found within the same coach, but perhaps that’s the main selling point which made 33-year-old Glendale Community College assistant women’s tennis coach Deo Sy a desirable candidate.

GCC announced Tuesday afternoon that Sy was named the new women’s tennis coach, as he replaced stalwart Bob Donaghy.

“I’m excited to take over this position and I feel ready,” said Sy, a Panaroma City resident. “My main goal coming into this season is to make the players better all-around. I want them mentally, physically and emotionally stronger and I want to take their game to the next level.”

While Sy is the new man at GCC, his knowledge of the program is perhaps only second to Donaghy.

Sy spent the last four seasons as Donaghy’s assistant and previously played under Donaghy in 2000 and 2001.

“To be honest, Deo has been ready for a couple of years now,” said Donaghy, who will serve as an assistant coach to Sy this season. “I really only wanted to coach for a year and took it over as a favor. I felt like Deo has been the right man for this job for a while.”

Sy acknowledged that he didn’t feel prepared to take over until recently.

“A couple of years ago, I still felt like I wasn’t ready, like there was still a lot more I had to learn,” Sy said. “These last few years with Bob have been great and I’ve learned so much. I didn’t want to say I was ready until I was sure of myself.”

The hiring was also a smooth transition for the school.

“Deo has a lot of history with coach Donaghy and with this program. This was a logical hire,” Glendale sports information director Alex Leon said. “With Deo, you have someone who’s in tune with local recruiting and was part of a team just coming off its best season in quite some time.”

The Vaqueros concluded a 2013 campaign in April with a 9-8 overall record and a 4-4 mark within the Western State Conference, which was good for third place. The team also qualified to the Southern California Regional playoffs for the first time since 1999 before losing to Mt. San Antonio College in the first round.

As for individual play, the doubles team of Alexandra Amor and Sofia Tavitian made an inspired run to the quarterfinals of the 113th annual Ojai Valley Tournament, the final tournament of the community college season.

Amor is one of a handful of returners this season.

“I think we’re going to be a strong team and I want to push us a little further,” Dy said. “I don’t expect any drastic changes here, but we’re going to be well-prepared.”

Perhaps lost in the shuffle of the new hire is the quiet end to the head coaching career of Donaghy, who coached the Vaqueros’ men’s team from 1978 to 2002 and who just finished his fourth year with the women.

“When I retired from coaching after 2002, it took a while to realize how much free time I had,” said Donaghy, a health and physical education instructor on campus. “I still plan to go down to practices and games, so it’s not like I’m done with tennis. I’m just going to have a little more time for myself.”

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