I recently read the article about Coach (Sasha) Schmid and Coach (Colt) Gaston. I’m the father of Cassidy Spearman, a player in the program during those years in which the piece was written.

I, for one, know the trials and tribulations of coaching women, as I have coached at the DI level and have been a tennis director for large multi-sport clubs for 30-plus years.

First off, in the published article, Sash is being portrayed as an absolute menace to this team. I can honesty say she is the reason my daughter is the women she is today.

Sash’s heart and passion and total regard for each player matches no one I have ever seen. She cared deeply and made sure the team was not only ready to compete on the court but also prepared for community outreach and school academics with the utmost ethics.

I’m sure there were issues, as with every team, but the article did an unjustifiable disservice to what she was all about. The Sasha I know was a fantastic coach with incredible loyalty to the girls and the school.

My daughter, Cassidy, played when Colt was an assistant with Sasha her junior year, then was a senior captain with Colt during his first year as a head coach. I have known Colt since his pro career, as he won an ATP tourney at my club.

His passion for the game then, as well as when he was at Mizzou, was that of real intensity, which he brought to the girls. Did he have a lot to learn — no doubt, but don’t all young coaches starting out? I think he will look back and know he did his best to have the girls compete at the highest level.

In closing I wanted to say thank you to the University of Missouri for giving my daughter the opportunity to compete at the highest level. And thank you to Sash for helping my daughter understand what it is to believe in yourself.

Mark Spearman, the parent of a former MU Tennis player, lives in Laguna Niguel, California.


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