Coach of the Year: Justin Nguyen Leading With Pride


Mackensie Neer

Nguyen performing his iconic backflip at the Seniors vs Staff Basketball game.

Jisang Yoo, Staff Writer

   Tennis Coach Justin Nguyen had a very successful introduction to coaching this year, striving to achieve the team’s goals and leading the UC High Girls Varsity Tennis Team to a triumphant season.

   Coach Nguyen’s story of becoming UC’s tennis coach is surprising. Nguyen said, “I actually became a coach by accident. The former tennis coach was talking to Mr. Asuncion because he just lost his JV coach who got injured, and I happened to walk into the wrong classroom. So when I walked in, I saw Mr. Asuncion. He asked me if I played tennis and if I wanted to coach. I said yes and that’s how I ended up as head coach. Ever since then, I’ve been coaching tennis at UC.”

   Nguyen led the Varsity Girls Tennis Team to its first CIF-SDS Championship. Nguyen said, “We did a pretty good job. The seniors kinda missed a few years of tennis because of COVID, so to come back and win CIF makes me really glad that I got to give them that experience.”

   Sophomore Maria Lapikova shared how Nguyen impacted the Girls Team and helped them win CIF. “Coach influenced the players to win the CIF mostly by believing in us. Without his constant support, I don’t think we could’ve won,” said Lapikova. Senior Aitana Allen-Perez said, “Mr. Nguyen’s contribution was vital to our success. He has helped all of the players feel interconnected by fostering cooperation and sportsmanship.”

   Having a positive attitude is part of his coaching style. Allen-Perez said, “I really like how supportive he is. He is always ready to give feedback with a positive outlook. You can feel his support even if he’s multiple courts away! He sometimes talks with a bit of sass, which is always hilarious and always makes our team feel closer and more motivated to try harder.” Sophomore Julian Reinstein said, “He’s passionate about the game and dedicates his time to make everyone a better player.”

   Nguyen dedicates his time to improve the tennis players’ games. Reinstein shared, “Coach made a couple of videos where he explained some mistakes he’s seen players make and how they could be avoided. He really goes above and beyond to help us.”

   In addition to his success on the court, Nguyen was a hit on social media when he went viral on TikTok when a student posted him doing a backflip at the Senior v. Staff Basketball Game. Nguyen said, “I wasn’t entirely sure, but I had a feeling that it might go viral. When I was doing the backflip, I was thinking that if I mess up the backflip, then it would really go viral.”

   Coaching can be a very difficult job, but overcoming obstacles and achieving success makes it memorable. Nguyen said, “I’m glad I was able to do my job as the coach and bring home a title for our school.”