The name Frank Brennan carries weight in Palo Alto, Calif. Indeed, the name is known throughout the tennis world. It began with Frank Brennan, Sr., who coached the legendary Billie Jean King in her youth. It continues today with Frank Brennan III, or “Frankie,” as he’s known, who’s been the Stanford women’s tennis associate head coach for nine years.
But for 21 years before that, Frank Brennan, Jr. led the Cardinal women on the court. He orchestrated an unprecedented series of championships – his 10 NCAA team national titles set a record – and solidified Stanford’s program as the best in the nation.
His record of success and personable nature brought class after class of future stars to Stanford. He presided over four undefeated seasons and coached nine NCAA singles champions. Forty-one of his players became All-Americas.
Brennan, Jr. led the Cardinal to six consecutive team national championships in six years from 1986 to 1991, an NCAA record, and posted a 76-match winning streak in the process. He made 18 NCAA Final Fours in 19 years. Only two senior classes graduated without at least one national championship ring.
After compiling a 510-50 win-loss record and becoming the second-winningest women’s collegiate tennis coach of all time, Brennan, Jr. retired from coaching after the 2000 season.
But his work at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center didn’t stop there.
In 2008, eight years after Brennan, Jr. retired from coaching, his son picked up the phone and asked him to come back.
And so he did, as a volunteer assistant.
“I will do all the matches and travel, but I’m not much of a morning person, so I’m not doing the 8:30 a.m. hits on Monday and Wednesday,” Brennan, Jr. told his son in What Makes Tennis Tick.
With Brennan Jr. as a volunteer assistant, Brennan III as associate head coach and Lele Forood as Director of Women’s Tennis, the Cardinal reached two NCAA finals and won the 2010 national championship – Forood’s sixth of 10 titles.
“How to relate to people, how to treat people,” Forood responded when asked how Brennan, Jr. impacted her. She first met him when she was 10 years old and through the years of tennis camps and lessons, they’ve become “like family.” She was an assistant on his staff for over a decade. “He’s just an unbelievable person and I learned a lot about – again, he was like another parent for me, so I learned a lot of values that are important to take not only into the workplace but in personal relationships.”
Over his illustrious career, Brennan, Jr. was named USPTA Northern California Coach of the Year six times, USPTA Coach of the Year twice, ITA/Wilson Intercollegiate Coach of the Year four times and Intercollegiate Coach of the Decade for the 1980s and 1990s. He was inducted into the Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001 and the ITA Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006. He has been a USPTA member for 54 years.