Article Image

Twenty-six years after Gary Jacobs (fourth from the left) hung up his uniform, his son Eric is here to fill it—though showing slightly less leg.

Blood is thicker than water. But it seems like the bonds formed on the tennis court are just as thick as blood. Coach Bid Goswami, who has been in charge of Lions' tennis since 1982, now sees a face that reminds him of his very early days at Columbia. Freshman player Eric Jacobs has succeeded his father Gary Jacobs' (CC '85) legacy by playing for the Columbia's men's tennis team under the same veteran coach. It is the first time in Columbia men's tennis history that a coach has seen a former player's child on the court. "It certainly makes me feel old, first of all—older but wiser. I always wanted to coach two generations, however, and it feels good to have Eric here," Goswami said. Goswami enjoys looking back on memories of the start of his career at the Dick Savitt Tennis Center, and he fondly recalls the playing days of the elder Jacobs. "He was a very, very talented player. I came in his sophomore year, and he was a big, tall guy with a big serve and great volleys, a very good doubles player," Goswami said. The 30-year coach of the Lions also picked up another asset to the program in assistant coach Howard Endelman, who played doubles with Jacobs while he was a student. "He [Jacobs] and Howard were perfect for each other. Gary maybe didn't push himself too much, but I knew Howard was very competitive. And they eventually found the perfect balance during games." Gary Jacobs, CC '85, was a pivotal part of the tennis program during his time here. As a sophomore, he and Paul Saputo, CC '84, were on the board to elect the new tennis coach after Paul Gerken, who resigned in 1982. Jacobs and Saputo fully supported Goswami as a candidate, and he ultimately came to Columbia in November 1982. Under the direction of this young coach from India, Jacobs and Endelman led the team through their stellar doubles dynamics. After graduation, Endelman, who initially worked on Wall Street, came back to Morningside Heights and has been the assistant head coach since August 2010. The elder Jacobs, who now vicariously feels the Light Blue court through his son, reminisces from his own days on the court. "From the very beginning, Bid connected with all of his players in a positive way," Jacobs said. "He made us better people first before he turned us into better tennis players. Bid used tennis to teach us about life." Jacobs also credited Endelman with his growth. "Howard is one of the most intense competitors I have ever been around and the single best teammate I ever had," he said. "The bottom line is that I needed to be pushed and Howard brought out the best in me. I actually can't believe that the current crop of players is coached by Howard and Bid—truly a world-class combination." This legacy of Coach Goswami crosses generations. "He recognizes that we have a lot to do but at the same time he pushes everyone on the team," Eric Jacobs said. "He focuses on strategic points of the whole game to let us know what it takes to have a winning game." What Eric has inherited—the sense of community within the team—extends back throughout Goswami's career. "To me, Bid's greatest legacy is the environment he has created for the Columbia tennis family. Every former and current player feels part of a special fraternity with Bid as the uniting force," the elder Jacobs said. "When generations of former Columbia players reunite to root for the current team or participate at an alumni tennis event, there's a sense of camaraderie as if we were all teammates." This feeling of tennis family is what Goswami has been building ever since he first came to Columbia. From the beginning, he knew the significance of the connection between the players not just on the court but also off it. And Goswami's wise guidance has brought him a series of successes in his Columbia career. In his second year, he brought the Ivy League championship trophy to the Lions' den. "We won the Ivies my junior year ['84]—making the transition from a middle-of-the-pack team to a perennially good program," Gary Jacobs remembers. "The team did not have the best overall talent in the league but won through sheer determination and hard work." "It was very memorable moment to me too," Goswami said. "I never played college tennis here, so I was nervous. And the college was nervous to have someone like me too. But during the championship match against Princeton, the whole bubble erupted when the second set serve broke. And everything fell together. I legitimized myself at Columbia through the experience." This past is the future of the young Jacobs. Ready with the same determination and hard work his father once had, Eric conveys his goal for the future as a member of the tennis family. "My goal as a team is to win the Ivy League. My personal expectation would be to win an Ivy League game in either singles or doubles during my four years at Columbia." Whether the young Jacobs will once again revive the glory of the first generation is solely up to him and the present team under the guidance of Goswami. "As a joke, the freshmen on the team call me 'glue,'" Jacobs said, "because I glue the team together. And I believe that's my contribution for the team right there." Goswami also shares this view. "Eric is a really good player. More than that, he is very helpful to us. He understands a lot about Columbia family and can give a lot of experience to the other guys," he said. "That doesn't show in wins and loses but there are many little things that are put together by Eric. Everyone really loves him." The young Jacobs may not have appreciated it yet, but he is the glue for the 2011 team as well as the long-lasting history of Columbia men's tennis.

Men's Tennis Gary Jacobs Eric Jacobs Bid Goswami
From Around the Web
ADVERTISEMENT
Newsletter
Recommended