JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 3, 2015) - Prior to next week’s NCAA Championship first round matchup at Virginia Tech, the ETSU men’s tennis team took time to visit Indian Trail Intermediate School Friday, addressing more than 650 students.
Before breaking into smaller groups to play mini-games, Head Coach Yaser Zaaatini and the Buccaneers, who are fresh off clinching the program’s ninth-consecutive conference tournament championship, spoke to the Indian Trail students about a key resource they have just minutes down the road: East Tennessee State University.
“With all of the places we have travelled together as a team,” Zaatini said, “the guys have seen that ETSU is as competitive as any place in the country.” “We all can dream big and believe that we can achieve anything, but the truth is that, for us, this became our dream come true.”
Zaatini shared with the Indian Trail students his personal story of coming to ETSU from Venezuela in 1990 as an under-recruited student-athlete and the transformation the university helped him achieve.
A three-time All-American as a player, Zaatini has been named conference Coach of the Year seven times in his 13 years as head coach at ETSU.
“Our success as a program is really a local success,” Zaatini said. “It is a byproduct of the university supporting us and finding a way to help us be successful.
“We have had great athletes and great students come through this program,” Zaatini said, “and we have managed to put together nine championships in a row. In the grand scheme of things, though, that only proves that ETSU can be a success factory.”
Zaatini emphasized to the Indian Trail student body the opportunities that ETSU can provide and how it’s proximity to home should be viewed as a positive, rather than a negative.
“I have heard people say that they want to get out of this city or this town,” Zaatini said. “The truth is that greatness is right around the corner. Sometimes the hardest things to see are the things that are right in front of you.
“It comes down to wanting to be a pioneer, and this is a place that allows you to be a pioneer,” Zaatini said.
In addition to addressing the students, the team led activities that allowed students a chance to run and play.
A video titled “The Tradition,” a short film by Martin Becerra documenting the tradition and close knit, family-like bonds of the ETSU Men’s Tennis program was also played. Click here to watch the video.
FOLLOW THE BUCS