There are not many Columbia alums who are more passionate about their alma mater than Howard Endelman, CC '87, is. Endelman, who is currently the associate head coach for the men's tennis team, was a four-year starter and one of the best players in school history. He also coached women's tennis from 1989 until 1992, and was a finalist for the Athletic Director position, in 2004. "This is the greatest school in the greatest city in the world," said Endelman, who goes by Howie to those close to him. Bid Goswami, who recruited Endelman as part of his first-ever recruiting class in 1983, has seen hundreds of players come through his door. "He has this unbelievable passion for Columbia that I haven't seen in anybody in all my years," said Goswami, who is entering his 29th season as men's head coach. When he wasn't learning or coaching at Columbia, Endelman played on the professional tennis tour, got his J.D. from Boston College, worked at one of the most prestigious law firms in New York City, Clifford, Chance, Rogers & Wells, worked as a vice president in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, helped Jim Courier found the professional tennis senior tour and, finally, was a founding partner in a private equity firm, Baseline Partners, that works on hydropower projects in Hyderabad, India. Endelman had his first interaction with Goswami at a tournament in Long Island, where Goswami told him he wanted to build a championship program. Endelman chose to come to Columbia at the same time as a landmark change in school history. "Columbia didn't go co-ed till 1983," Endelman said, "so I was part of the first class that admitted women." Endelman was part of a three-man recruiting class that would go on to dominate the Ivy League. Along with Phil Williamson and Matt Litsky, the team would go 33-3 in the Ivy League/EITA over their four years and win two Ivy League/EITA titles. Endelman himself would go 30-4 in singles, 31-3 in doubles, and captained the 1987 team, which was ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation. the professional tour The trio decided to test out the pro tour to find out just how good they were. "We thought we were good, but we didn't know how we fit in," Endelman said, "so Litsky, Williamson, and I turned pro." Williamson qualified for the US Open singles draw in his first year on tour. Endelman would find his niche in doubles, rising as high as No. 183 in the world in doubles, and competing in the US Open and Wimbledon. Endelman also reached No. 609 in the world in singles, and played some of the world's best during his career. "[Ivan] Lendl, [John] McEnroe, [Boris] Becker, I played all those guys in doubles," Endelman said. How did he do? "I lost to all of them," Endelman said, laughing. "Those guys all reached No. 1 in the world." coming back to columbia Endelman played on the tour for three years, long enough to see "we were as good as any of these guys," and found himself back in New York and studying for the LSAT when he got a call from Columbia Athletic Director Al Paul. Paul said that the school needed someone to coach the women's tennis team, since the current coach had quit mid-season, and was seeing if Endelman was interested in an interim position as head coach. Endelman took the job, and became the youngest active head coach in Division I at just 24 years old. "I learned how to coach women," Endelman said. "The nuances are much different than men. I found I really enjoyed coaching, helping to achieve more than they thought possible of themselves." Endelman inherited a team with only three players, but quickly turned the program around. He led the squad to its best ever record, and coached Janette Kizer-Antiles, the first Columbia women's tennis player to earn all-Ivy status. Endelman left in 1992 to go to law school, and started a career that would take him from Boston to New York and finally all the way to India. Along the way, Endelman was a finalist for the position of Athletic Director at Columbia, the position currently held by Dr. M. Dianne Murphy. coming back to columbia again In the summer of 2010, Goswami reached out to Endelman to see if he might be interested in coming back to Columbia. "We were talking about the program, and Bid thought that a position might be open," Endelman said, "and he asked me how I would like to work together with the team." Goswami notices one thing that has stayed the same since he first met Endelman. "He was one of my first recruits and he had so much energy, he was so passionate and he was very involved with the day-to-day of the team," Goswami said. "I didn't have an assistant coach then and even though he was a freshman, he was talking about the goals and vision for the team. That's the one part of him that hasn't become any more or less, he's always the same person. When I thought he was ready for it, I thought it was the greatest thing for Columbia tennis." Endelman's experiences make him uniquely qualified to work with student-athletes at Columbia. "There are not many things a student-athlete at Columbia will face that I haven't gone through," Endelman said. "Playing here, going to school in the Ivies, interviews, law, banking." According to Endelman, tennis is more than just serves and rallies from the baseline. "Tennis is a microcosm of life," Endelman said, "especially at a place like this." To be successful in tennis is to be successful at Columbia. "You have to be relentlessly positive, ignore all perceived obstacles and setbacks, and a hard-nosed, tough competitor," Endelman said. "There are inherent challenges, certain things that are not necessarily going to be easy here, and you can't make excuses or you are done." Perhaps the biggest impact that Endelman has had at Columbia has come in recruiting the next generation of men's tennis players. Columbia has the No. 7 ranked recruiting class in the nation according to tennisrecruiting.net, behind only Cornell in the Ivies, and ahead of traditional powers like USC, Notre Dame, Harvard, Stanford and Georgia. Endelman cites two primary factors in his success on the recruiting trail. "I played here and coached here," Endelman said. "I know what it's like to get out of class and run to the bus [to practice]. Secondly, about half the kids want to go to Wall Street, and I've done a lot of those jobs, and have a sense of what it takes to be successful." "The recruiting class was great," Goswami said. "He's great day-to-day with the boys, he's far exceeded my expectations. It's been a great thing for me." Everyone who interacts with Endelman notices his passion first. "I call him the professor," Goswami said. "He doesn't have a Ph.D., but he has a double Ph.D. in tennis. He is so passionate about tennis." "Howie is so passionate about tennis," said current No. 1 singles player Haig Schneiderman. "He's one of the few guys I know who will stop whatever he is doing and give you unparalleled attention. If I want to do running at 6:30 a.m., he'll be there 6:25 ready to go." Another focus for Endelman is the preparation that goes on long before a match. "I believe in performance based on preparation," Endelman said. "Work ethic, delayed gratification and commitment. Do all the work beforehand to put yourself in position to win." Senior co-captain Kevin Kung explained how Howie's increased focus on fitness will help Columbia tennis in the future. "Howie also brings on a new culture to the team that focuses tremendously on fitness and conditioning. Columbia has always been strong at recruiting talent, but the physical fitness and mental toughness will bring us to Ivy League championships," Kung said. "Howie's previous experience as a coach and ATP player gives us a good reference as to where we stand in terms of fitness level and discipline. Hard work and conditioning is always relative, and he understands the necessary steps we need to take to becoming the best players we could possibly be." For a team that has won two straight Ivy titles, three of the past four, and five since 2000, the thought of a fitter, tougher team has to scare the rest of the Ancient Eight. There are very few stories that come full circle. Howard Endelman, a Columbia alum is back coaching under his college coach, who made him one of his very first recruits nearly three decades ago. Goswami, who remains a mentor to Endelman to this day, summed it up best. "All in all, we're in good shape because he is here," Goswami said. "And I'm confident the brightest days of Columbia tennis are ahead of us."