By Ryan Buck
He is a three-time All-American. His name is ubiquitous in the program’s record books. No one has accomplished more in the history of the University of Notre Dame men’s tennis program.
Like the feel of a racket in his hands, the title of head coach feels just right for Canfield native Ryan Sachire.
“It certainly sounds pretty special and magical,” said Sachire, who graduated from Canfield in 1996 a two-time Ohio state champion in men’s singles. “This is home and I couldn’t be more honored and proud to be the head coach here.”
Highly recruited after losing just five matches in four years at Canfield under coach Larry Davis, knew he had found a collegiate home in South Bend, Ind.
Even as he was amassing a 72-19 career record as the Irish’s No. 1 singles player, the thought of one day taking over the Notre Dame program was the eventual goal.
“I knew from the first day I was here, as a player even, that I would ultimately end up in college coaching — the whole ability to combine the two things that I love and that is the game of tennis and to compete as a team,” Sachire said.
Sachire graduated from Notre Dame in 2000 and played professionally before beginning his coaching career at Baylor in 2005. A year later his former coach, Bobby Bayliss, called looking for a new assistant and a potential successor.
“When the opening came after my one year at Baylor when the assistant coach’s job came open, he called me and I was certainly interested,” Sachire said. “I knew I always wanted to get into coaching and he and I would have talks even way back when I was a player about if this was the right business for me to get into — the right career for me to follow.”
In 2008, Sachire was given the title of associate head coach. Conversations between he and Bayliss about his future were coming to fruition.
“It was something that we talked about for a long time,” Sachire said. “It was talked about casually that this was the right time and if I came here and did a good job that there was potential for me to eventually take over for him.”
Before last season, Notre Dame and Bayliss decided the time was right for Sachire to lead the program in search of its first national title.
“The whole concept of it was just humbling and it’s something that’s a little bit surreal to think about, but I’m certainly happy and honored to do it,” Sachire said.
While he now considers the golden dome and manicured lawns of the Notre Dame campus his home, advice instilled in Sachire where he first learned to play the game still guides him.
“The message I’m going to deliver to our guys is one that I got from my father [Frank] growing up and that is that you do the best you can every single day,” he said. “You strive to be the absolute best, you strive for excellence and set your goals really, really high and work your tail off to get there.”
He will also build it into his program.
“That’s going to be the crux of what we communicate to our players and shoot for the stars,” he said.
Sachire’s father is a renowned tennis coach in the area who played college football at Mount Union. Frank and wife, Patty, are longtime teachers who introduced their son to tennis at a young age.
“My parents still belong to the Boardman Tennis and Swim Club,” Ryan Sachire said. “There’s a practice wall there and they would go out and play with each other. I would knock balls around on the wall during the time that they would play and then once the two of them were done, then they’d bring me on the court and hit with me as well. It’s one of those family connections and family things to do and that’s how I got started and it grew from there.”