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The Hodges Factor
Tuesday, 11/21/2017
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7-time National Champion

Georgia Gwinnett Team Page

94 consecutive wins in a row! Yes, I just wrote that.  This is a factual statement for one coach in the United States of America.  

1- Who has the longest winning streak in all of collegiate sports?  
The answer is Georgia Gwinnett College men's tennis with 57 straight wins.  
2- Who has the third longest winning streak in all of collegiate sports?  
The answer is Georgia Gwinnett College women's tennis with 37 straight wins.  
3- What is the common denominater in these equations?
The answer is simply Chase Hodges.

I had the chance to speak with Hodges while he was in California at the ITA Fall Nationals.  As a writer, I am always a bit nervous when starting an interview due to the aspect that I have never met my subject let alone a coach with the pedigree of Hodges.  However, my unease was quickly gone after spending time with Coach Hodges.  Hodges gives off a relaxed persona but is ultra competitive.  He has supreme confidence when he speaks yet he doesn't seem to take himself too seriously.  He is an interesting and profoundly endearing character that is very easy to like.  He has amassed 7 national team championships and has brought a total of 19 national championships to a NAIA school located just outside of Atlanta.  His career has included stops as an assistant coach at UNC Wilmington, head coach at Longwood University, head coach at UNC Asheville, head coach at Drake University, head coach at Georgia State University and now head coach at Georgia Gwinnett College.  When you look at his career, there is one thing that is consistent.  The one thing is WINNING.  He wins and wins big wherever he coaches.  His players graduate with academic honors and he remains a consistent role in many of their lives after they graduate.  

Hodges credits recruiting to his level of success and gives most of the credit to his student-athletes.  But, there has to be something more than that.  There has to be a reason he is able to dominate college tennis year after year.  He makes it seem easy.  But, it can't be that easy, can it?  I decided to reach out to two current Grizzly players to get the inside scoop.  Kevin Konfederak provided me with some incredibly insightful answers to Chase Hodges.  I must note that Konfederak is largely considered as one of the best college tennis players in the USA and resides from Argentina.  

"What is it about Chase Hodges (the person) that makes him successful?"
KK- In my opinion, his best quality is his desire to win. It does not matter on what he is competing. He just wants to win. He would do anything he needs to do to win. That's something incredible important because most people would say that they like winning but they don't as much as Chase. So, when things get tough, he will make it happen. However, other people won't.
"Based on your experiences and seeing other coaches, how does Hodges produce dominant programs on an annual basis?"  
KK- As I stated before, his biggest quality is his desire to win. I think that is something you are born with.  It is difficult to learn that. This intention to win is more than half of the work. It's what motivates him every day to keep looking for the best players around the world. Of course, once you have a great team and you keep winning then it is much easier to recruit but most people could just enjoy winning now and forget about the future. Eventually players would graduate and your team could become weak, but Hodges is on top of this. He is all over every player who is looking to go to college.
Final question- "Can Hodges maintain this level of winning or can it simply not be continued?"   
KK- Of course it can be continued and I'm sure he will find a way to keep it going! A normal person would think that at some point it has to end, but I don't see why it would have to. He has the best players, everyone wants the same, and we will all work to make it happen. 

Gilad Berman from Israel also provided some added insight in regards to Hodges.  His quotes are below:

GB- Chase is the best college coach I have had as I started at UNLV.  He is a coach that makes you want to play for him.  He is an incredible motivator and great person. He will help you with all that you need on and off the court to make you feel like you are home. I really enjoy playing here for the team because having Chase here to let you control your own game and just make the best out of it.
Chase is a great recruiter so he believes in every player he has and that provides great support in a match.

The Chase Hodges Factor is a consistent theme in the success of all the programs that Hodges has led.  I asked Hodges what the main reason was for all of his success.  His answer was profoundly honest and refreshing.

CH- I am an extremely competitive person in a very competitive industry. My success is based on wins and losses.  The fact is that if I had not experienced the level of success that I have then we would not be doing this interview.  I work hard and my players work extremely hard.  The blueprint to success is not a "get rich" type scheme.  My players put in the work on the tennis court and the weight room.  The work that I put in is of a different kind.  I'm constantly in touch with high level players and/or responding or dealing with certain issues which is a full time job in itself.  But, the main thing is that I truly enjoy and love what I do.  If I did not enjoy it, then I would do something else.  At the end of the day, I'm blessed to get to wake up every day and have an impact in young people's lives.  For me, there is no price tag on that.

After having the chance to meet and spend time with Coach Hodges, I would want to play for him.  He has a unique quality about him that makes you want to win for him.  Konfederak and Berman both mentioned that and I feel that may be the "difference" between Hodges and many of the others.  You truly want to win for him.  As the career of Chase Hodges continues, don't be surprised to see him continue to dominate the college tennis world.  

Article written by: Mark Davidson