As a collegiate tennis player, Paul Goldstein was associated with the most successful four-year span in the history of Stanford men's tennis.
Whether that translates into his coaching career, which began successfully Tuesday with a 6-1 victory over UC Davis, remains to be seen.
One thing is clear, the four-time collegiate All-American expects his players to compete at the highest level, with the highest expectations.
The Cardinal (5-2 in the Pac-12 last year, 14-6 overall) played in its 35th NCAA tournament last year but is looking for its first national title since 2000, two years into Goldstein's professional career, in which he set the record (which has since been broken) for most USTA Pro Circuit titles.
Goldstein became the first NCAA Division I player to participate on four consecutive team titles. No one knows more about what it takes to win than he. Goldstein hasn't been out of tennis all that long and understands the demand of academics and athletics.
Goldstein also has one of the all-time greats as a mentor. Hall of Famer Dick Gould maintains an office at the Taube Family Tennis Center.
"I visit his office four times a day asking for advice," Goldstein said. "He's been a tremendous help for me."
Goldstein was the captain of arguably the best college team ever assembled in 1998, coached by Gould. Goldstein reached the NCAA singles finals, where he lost to teammate Bob Bryan.
Goldstein helped Stanford record a 28-0 record, which included 25 shutouts and all four in the NCAA tournament. Bryan also teamed with twin brother, Mike, to win the NCAA doubles title.
The 1998 team won 167 of 170 matches played overall. Stanford was 104-6 in Goldstein's playing days.
The Cardinal continues its season this weekend, traveling to Thousand Oaks to play in the Sherwood Cup, which begins Friday and runs through Monday.
"I just want to see everybody playing the tennis they are capable of playing," Goldstein said. "I expect the lineup to evolve through the course of the year. We have 11 guys who all deserve to be playing."
Goldstein inherited a team mixed equally with experience and youth. Seniors and team captains John Morrissey and Robert Stineman helped make the transition easier for Goldstein.
"I cannot ask for two better team leaders," Goldstein said. "They set the tone every day and have incorporated the freshmen into the program. The chemistry is as good as I could hope for."
Morrissey brings an overall 59-36 record into the season and played the past two years at the top of the ladder. As a freshman he led the Cardinal with 23 victories.
Stineman owns a career mark of 55-38, and recorded 22 wins as a freshmen, playing at No. 5 or No. 6 singles.
Morrissey and Stineman are doubles partners for the first time since they were freshmen and produced an 8-6 mark together.
Junior Maciek Romanowicz finished last year ranked 88th overall, despite missing two months with an injury. He was 13-4 overall and played both No. 2 and No. 3 singles.
Junior Nolan Paige also returns with experience, accumulating an overall 28-27 record playing everywhere from No. 1 to No. 4.
Juniors Trey Strobel and Anthony Tsodikov give Stanford solid depth throughout the lineup. Strobel tied for the team lead in wins as a freshman and Tsodikov led the Cardinal with 21 victories last year, playing at No. 5.
Sophomore Yale Goldberg came to Stanford as an Ohio state champion in high school. He had most of his success as a doubles player last year, with Strobel and Morrissey. He was the national clay court doubles champion two years ago.
Sophomores Brandon Sutter and Roy Lederman missed their freshmen seasons with injuries.
All three freshmen, Tom Fawcett, David Hsu and David Wilczynski, were in the starting lineup on Tuesday and all three won their matches.
"It's exciting for me," Goldstein said. "To get a win the first time out was exciting for me and all the coaches Brandon Coupe and volunteer assistant Bijan Hejazi. We felt good about it, though there are things we need to work out as a team."
The 6-foot-6 Fawcett, who won eight of his 10 matches during the fall season, beat Aggie Alec Adamson, 6-1, 6-3, at the top of the ladder to lead the way.
"He's a tremendous competitor," Goldstein said. "He's already leading by example. He wants to keep hitting balls after the match."
Fawcett, the ITA Northwest Regional singles champion, was down 3-1 in the second set before sweeping the final five games.
Wilczynski fought back from a first set loss in a tie-breaker to handily win the next two sets, 6-1 and 6-1.
"He started tentatively and was nervous," Goldstein said. "He kept his composure."
Hsu recovered from a third set deficit to win his match, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5, at No. 4 singles.
"To come back after getting down is something to be proud of," said Goldstein.
Stanford resumes its dual-match schedule at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Florida on Jan, 24, playing South Carolina. The Cardinal will face either the host Gators or Mississippi the following day.