Getting to know Jenny Hilt-Costello
1. Can you detail your coaching path to Long Beach State?
I played at UCLA and after graduation I was offered the assistant coaching position with Long Beach State. I worked as the assistant under Jami Jones for 2 years and then accepted an offer to be the assistant coach at the University of Washington. En route to Seattle, I got a call from Cindy Masner offering me the interim head coaching position because Jami decided to be a full time mom. I accepted and then one year later I was appointed the full-time head coaching position.
2. Beyond winning a championship, what are your goals for the upcoming season?
Our goal is to improve everyday. We want to work on something each day that will make us better tomorrow. Regardless of whether our players win or lose a match, I want them to walk off the court having accomplished certain goals each day. That is the only way to improve and gain confidence for the next match.
3. Who is an exciting new player we will see on you team next season?
'Beach Tennis' is about TEAM. It takes 4 points to win a match. It takes everyone to post a good season. We build a team environment working together and empowering each player to earn her spot in the line up. Having said that, we are going to have 4-5 new players on our roster next season, so we are looking for everyone to contribute and I think it will be a very exciting season.
4. What is your recruiting philosophy?
We look for student-athletes who want to get their degree but are still looking for a challenge and to compete at a high level. To do that, the student-athletes have to be interested in putting in the time and the work to get there.....intensity. We want to recruit players who still love to play tennis!
5. How important are the summer months to the development of your team?
The summer months provide an important opportunity for our players to get some well deserved time off. We have a very long season that runs from early September to mid-May. When the season ends, our players need to take some time off to rest and heal their bodies. But once they have taken a little time off, then we encourage them to train hard and play a few tournaments before they return to campus in the fall so that we can pick up where we left off in the spring.
6. If someone asked you for a recommendation where to eat in the Long Beach area, where would you send them and what would you tell them to order?
I love Taco Surf. Their chips and salsa are great and I always order their Baja fish tacos with black beans on the side.
7. Outside of coaching and sports, what are your hobbies?
8. If you had a weekend off during the season and you weren't allowed to work, what would you do with the free time?
I would take a long weekend away with my husband. Actually, I had a free weekend this past season for the first time in 15 years, so we went to New Orleans for the Final Four. It was so much fun!
9. What vacation spot has been your favorite to visit?
I have been very fortunate to have traveled to some really spectacular places. It is hard for me to pick just one, so I am going to give you my top 3 vacations: Bora, Bora Tahiti is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been. My honeymoon in Jamaica was incredible and I highly recommend it!! Ya Man! I spent three weeks driving around France one summer and it was amazing; the food, the wine and each city/village was so scenic. And everyone should visit Normandy. I am not a history person but Normandy blew my doors off and took my breath away!!
10. Dodgers or Angels, and why? Lakers or Clippers, and why?
Dodgers, Lakers and the Kings.....the real LA teams (and my dachshund is named Dodger Dog).
11. Excluding your team, what "49er Moment" from the 2011-12 season was your favorite?
I really enjoyed watching men's basketball beat Pitt!! We were out at a local restaurant and everyone went nuts!