Middlebury, VT — Eleven years ago, renowned men’s tennis coach Bob Hansen took over head coaching duties at Middlebury College. Now, after a career that has spanned more than 4 decades, Hansen is retiring.

“I feel extremely fortunate that this job fits me like a glove,” said Hansen. It is a perfect analogy, as the sport has given him a career and he gifted the sport many national championships. “We were adding up the number the other day. I think I’ve won 42 National Championships in 41 years.”

It all began in California, where Hansen built the University of California Santa Cruz’s tennis program from the ground up, holding the head coaching position for thirty years before he decided to move to Middlebury. Since starting at Middlebury, Hansen continued to coach at a high level.

“I said I would always want to do it, as long as I could produce the best possible four-year tennis experience for the kids.”

Aside from tennis, Hansen takes pride in how he’s built athletes to succeed athletically and in life. “I feel like I’ve impacted a ton of players that will leave the program as better people, better athletes, and have a better sense of who they are. A feeling that they can set big goals in their life and with confidence attack and achieve them.”

He achieved this by allowing his players to give feedback and have input in team decisions. Andrew Thomson who transitioned to head coach says Hansen’s ability to still be able to learn from others after such a long career may be his greatest trait.

“He is incredibly collaborative in his approach and he does it on such a consistent daily basis,” said Thomson. “It makes playing for him a lot of fun, cause not only does he have those conversations, but he also loves talking to the players.”

Thomson says Hansen creates natural leaders, which was on high display while the head coaching transition was ongoing. “We just coached together. That was the special thing for us, we just felt like a team from start to finish.”

Aside from family, what’s next for Hansen? “I’m kind of crazy about pickleball right now and I’ll be playing some national pickleball events, so a lot to look forward to.”

Looking back, he knows transitioning his career to Vermont was the right move. “It’s been just a magical place for me to end my coaching career. Without a doubt, great decision.”