Nathan Jackmon named head coach of men’s tennis at Santa Barbara City College

Nathan Jackmon grew up playing on the Pershing Park courts and was a four-time CIF team champion at Santa Barbara High. (Courtesy Santa Barbara City College Athletics)
Nathan Jackmon grew up playing on the Pershing Park courts and was a four-time CIF team champion at Santa Barbara High. (Courtesy Santa Barbara City College Athletics)

SANTA BARBARA - Nathan Jackmon is returning to his roots as the new head coach of the SBCC men's tennis team.

"I grew up playing at Pershing Park [the Vaqueros' home courts], from the time I was probably 7 years old," said Jackmon while sitting at Court 1. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun coaching here and I'm super excited. I really look forward to getting this program to the top."

Jackmon played for Santa Barbara High in the early 1990s during the Dons' glory days under Jack Trigueiro. He played on four straight CIF championship squads (1991-94) and won the 1993 CIF doubles title with Jason Merrin.

Jackmon continued his career at the University of California-Berkeley, starting in the No. 6 position as a freshman and finishing at No. 1. He played on the ATP pro circuit for three years and then started his own junior tennis program in the Bay Area called "Advantage Point Tennis," which he ran for 15 years.

He was the head coach of the boys and girls high school teams at Bentley Upper School in Lafayette from 2010 to 2015.

"My wife and I had a couple of kids and we decided to we wanted them to grow up where we grew up in the Santa Barbara area," Jackmon stated. "So we moved back to Ventura in 2017.

"We're both real estate agents and we've been doing well and we're super busy. I haven't been doing anything with tennis for the last few years and I decided I needed tennis in my life again. It had been my life until a few years ago."

SBCC athletic director Rocco Constantino feels Jackmon will be a good fit with the Vaqueros.

"I am very excited that Nathan has joined our athletics family," said Constantino. "I thought he was an excellent candidate based on his credentials and then after meeting him for the first time, I knew he was someone we wanted working with our students.

"We're incredibly fortunate to have someone with his playing and coaching tennis background coaching with us and I am sure the students will enjoy working with Coach Jackmon. We have some talented players and I am excited to see what he can do with the team."

Jackmon used to be a practice partner with Grand Slam champions Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf.

"I used to hit with Andre and Steffi before they got married," Jackmon recalled. "Andre is a tennis genius and he gave me a lot of nice little tidbits. I met Andre because I was living with Brad Gilbert while he was coaching him."

SBCC won a state title in men's tennis in 1989 and three straight WSC championships from 1988-90. But they've only won one WSC title in the last 29 years and haven't had a winning team since 2013.

Jackmon said he's met with many of the current Vaquero tennis players and "they seem like cool, nice guys.

"They're pretty good players who are really competitive," he said. "I'd like to get more local kids playing here in addition to the foreign players we get. That would definitely help our team."

Constantino added: "I think Coach Jackmon can really revitalize tennis here at SBCC. Our goals for the team are the same we have for all of our sports. We want the students to have a great experience athletically, academically and socially and we want them all to work toward graduation or taking the next positive step in their lives.

"I was also impressed with Coach Jackmon's academic background. As someone who was a successful student-athlete at Cal-Berkeley, he knows what it takes to be able to balance academics and athletics and I believe he'll serve as a fantastic mentor to our students. I couldn't be happier that he is on board with us."

Jackmon's coaching philosophy is about communication, setting goals and working hard.

"The first thing is we have to do is communicate and find out what everyone's goals are and what our goal is as a team," he said. "Once we figure that out, we'll have a road map on where we want to go. Then it's about making the commitment to those goals and really working to get there. We need to stay motivated, help each other and persevere until we get where we want to be."

(David Loveton, Santa Barbara City College Athletics)