• Emily Bondi

Turiano Fulfills her Dream of Becoming a Division I Tennis Coach

Image Credit--J.D. Cavrich

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts

By: Emily Bondi

“All who have achieved great things have been great dreamers."

"When I was a young girl, I had a dream of becoming a successful tennis player and coach. I want to provide my expertise to Saint Francis University student-athletes, by not just teaching them just tennis, but giving them an opportunity where they can feel more confident in themselves."

Meet Mariah Turiano, a young 24-year-old who has been playing tennis for 15 years and is a native of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

Turiano recently has taken on a new adventure with Saint Francis University as the Assistant Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach while she continues pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration from Saint Francis University. She also is a Staff Accountant at Okonak Dean Lechner P.C.

Turiano says, “athletics have played a significant role in reaffirming the importance of teamwork and being organized, driven, and focused. These attributes translate to success not only on the court, but also in my current position as Assistant Tennis Coach for Saint Francis University.”

Turiano has had many experiences with the game of tennis that have had a lasting impact on her.

“My favorite memory of my high school career is playing in the really close, intense tennis matches. Whether we were losing or winning, you could feel the intensity and passion in the air from both teams. I always took a deep breath and took it all in because those games are the reason, I play this sport.”

Turiano played at Hollidaysburg Senior High School where she was the 2011 District 6 AAA Singles Champion and 2010 District 6 AAA Doubles Champion. She also helped her school team win the District 6 Championship Team Title in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.

Turiano knew she wanted to continue her tennis career in college. Ultimately choosing Westminster was the best decision for her.

“Continuing tennis into my college years was a value-added experience, and the right decision for me. At the Division III level, there are no athletic scholarships. Therefore, I played for the pure enjoyment, love, and passion for the sport. Being a student-athlete requires perseverance and a disciplined approach to time management.”

Image Credit--Westminster College

The bigger picture is how Turiano has taken all the knowledge she has learned over the years and is ready to give it to the next generation of tennis players.

“It has always been a dream of mine to coach Division I tennis and SFU was the perfect fit. I am loving every minute of it. I’m looking to take something good and make it into something great.”

Turiano hopes to bring a good coaching philosophy and communication skills to her new players. She also wants to showcase her leadership abilities and work with parents as well as young adults.

The season is just underway and Turiano has high hopes for her team.

“We are really focused on enthusiasm and having energy. I could not have asked for a better group of newcomers. They came in ready to work and are willing to do whatever they need to do to make the team successful. That's all you can ask for. Our freshman class is very strong; they're hard working. The future of the team is expected to be a favorable one, as a result of the skill and leadership development within the team. We hope to place in the top of the Northeast Conference athletically and academically as a team.”

Turiano is in a unique situation where she is young enough to relate to her players and she can also use her recent college experiences to really help grow her players and challenge them.

“I hope to be an influential figure both on and off the court. I hope they remember my positive attitude and enthusiasm for the sport and them, since I believe the ability to motivate and inspire is part of the formula for success.”

Turiano sets the bar high for herself on and off the court. She is excited to be pursuing one of her dreams close to her hometown.

Good luck this season to Saint Francis University Tennis Teams!

For more Western Pennsylvania sports stories, you can find Emily Bondi on Twitter.