ND Women’s Tennis
Alison Silverio looks to build on strong culture
Nate Moller | Wednesday, September 25, 2019
While Alison Silverio is only in her second season as head women’s tennis coach at Notre Dame, she has already built a strong culture of winning and trust among her players. One of her favorite parts about Notre Dame is the conversations she has with her athletes
“For me what has been so special about being at Notre Dame is the conversations that the girls and I have had off the court,” she said. “I think that’s important as a coach and a student athlete to have that trust and build that trust. A lot of times that is happening off the court with different conversations and different activities that we do.”
Before her arrival at Notre Dame, Silverio was the head coach at the University of Oregon. She successfully turned the program at Oregon around and led the Ducks to their first ever NCAA tournament appearance in nearly a decade. Since coming to Notre Dame, she has felt the transition has gone as smoothly as possible.
“The transition has been very smooth as far as getting to know Notre Dame and how everything works,” Silverio said. “We have certainly had our ups and downs, and I’m sure those will continue. The people that we are surrounded with have really helped make the transition a graceful one.”
Silverio said she loved the Notre Dame community the instant she became a part of it.
“Understanding the excellence that Notre Dame has in both athletics and academics and how Notre Dame goes about its business with respecting and treating other people made me feel connected right away,” Silverio said.
Although still a young coach, Silverio has been playing tennis since she was eight years old. Silverio said her favorite part about tennis is the mental component of the game.
“I think there are so many connections between tennis and life and what you are dealing with,” she said “There are no timeouts, and there are no substitutions. It is just you out there with your opponent. There is so much mental toughness, mental fortitude and belief you need to have in yourself when you are out there battling.”
Silverio said she loved watching tennis as a child, too. She idolized players like Martina Hingis and Jennifer Capriati, appreciating Hingis’ precision and control and loving to watch the powerful serve and forehand of Capriati.
Silverio had a very successful tennis career while at Georgia Tech. She ranks first in number of single wins and second in number of double wins among the program’s all time leaders. Despite all these individual accomplishments, she said, the best part of her college career was winning the NCAA team title in 2007.
“That was a very big deal for my teammates, coaches and me to accomplish that together. It was so special, and it is certainly something that can never be taken away from us,” Silverio said. “The work that it took to accomplish that senior year was truly remarkable. … We were able to, in my opinion, win the biggest championship in college athletics in women’s tennis.”
When asked about her most exciting athlete to coach, Silverio could not express a specific name. She said she enjoys working with each player because of their different styles of play and athleticism.
“Honestly, I enjoy being able to work with each one of our girls,” she said. “They all have different skill sets in their athleticism. I’m fortunate because we have eight different styles and eight different personalities. With that I have to be able to adapt my coaching.”
Silverio has placed a strong emphasis on weight training and physical fitness training since arriving at Notre Dame, and she said she believes that it is paying dividends for her team.
“The fitness side and the strength side is something we have really taken ownership of since I got here,” she said. “It has been really fun to see the girls gain in the weight room and on the track in different areas to improve our athleticism.”
Silverio said she looks to carry these positives from her first year into her second year at Notre Dame. Her successes at Georgia Tech and Oregon are indications that success at Notre Dame is soon to come.