Introducing Our New Assistant Coach: Jada Hart

We are very excited to introduce our new assistant coach, Jada Hart, from Colton, California!

Before playing for UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles), Jada won the 2016 US Open Girls’ Doubles Championship with fellow Bruin Ena Shibahara. 

As a Division I student-athlete, Jada had incredible success both on and off the court. She was a four-time ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) All-American for both singles (2019, 2020) and doubles (2018, 2020, 2021). In 2021, she was also recognized as the ITA Southwest Region Senior Player of the Year. With partners Terri Fleming (2017) and Abbey Forbes (2021), Jada was part of the Pac-12 (Pacific-12) Doubles Team of the Year. She received all-conference honors for four seasons, making the First Team in 2019 and the Second Team in 2017, 2018, and 2021. Jada reached a career-high national singles ranking of No. 9 twice, as well as a career-high national doubles ranking of No. 1 three times. In her junior year, she reached the quarterfinals of the year-end NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Singles Championship. At the end of her final season with the Bruins, Jada qualified for the NCAA Singles Championship and partnered with Elysia Bolton to reach the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championship.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations, as well as a Master of Education in Transformative Coaching and Leadership from UCLA. At the university’s 2020 scholar-athlete banquet, Jada was one of two recipients of the Maggie Gilbert Academic Perseverance Award for showing tremendous growth throughout her academic career and demonstrating relentless perseverance and commitment to her academic endeavors. During her collegiate career, she received ITA Scholar-Athlete honors twice and an honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Academic Team. Jada was also a Pac-12 Honor Roll Member and nine-time Athletic Director’s Honor Roll member. 

To promote diversity, equity, inclusion, health, and wellness on campus, she was an Event Coordinator for UCLA’s Bruin Sports Business Association, a Co-Founder and Secretary of the BSAA (Black Student Athlete Alliance), a Social Media Outreach Coordinator for SAMs (Student Athlete Mentors), and a Student Leader for Bruin Ambassadors. 

We are so happy that Jada will serve as Assistant Coach of the PPWT (Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis) Team, and hope you will enjoy learning more about her journey. 

What drew you to Division III and PPWT, in particular?

Jada: After completing my Master’s this past year, I developed an interest in potentially going into college coaching, but I didn’t have a preference of what division I wanted to work in. Coach Mike Morgan contacted me about the assistant position once it opened up and I really enjoyed our conversation where we got to know each other and he told me about the program. Coach Mike also knew that I still wanted to pursue a professional tennis career, and he’s been 100% on board with me doing so ever since we first spoke. I felt comfortable with continuing that journey while also learning all about college coaching. Pomona and Pitzer have great morals and traditions, and I am excited to play an active role in the team’s culture.

In your view, what is one of the most rewarding aspects of playing college tennis?

Jada: To me, the most rewarding aspect of college tennis is being able to play on a team. Tennis is a very individualistic sport. College tennis offers a unique experience to be able to compete as a group instead of in the traditional individualistic way that players are used to in both junior and professional tennis. It also enables athletes to change their perspective from I to we, which is very crucial to building team chemistry and cohesiveness. Although it is not the easiest transition for most tennis players, I find it to be a great environment for the players to build their social and teamwork skills that they can bring with them into the corporate world.

What did you learn through your experiences as a student-athlete at UCLA?

Jada: During my collegiate career at UCLA, I learned how important it is to control the things that you can control. Sometimes during the tennis season, I dealt with various injuries and illnesses that were out of my control. I had to learn to do the best that I could under different circumstances. Not every single day or every single match was going to be perfect. Most importantly, I learned to take one day at a time and try to be 1% better each day, despite all of the curveballs that were thrown at me.

What is one of your favorite parts about coaching?

Jada: What I enjoy about coaching is being able to not only share my love for the game with other players but also push them to reach their full potential. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had great coaches throughout my tennis career who have pushed me to be the player and person I am today. In this new journey with the PPWT Team, my goal is to help each of these ladies be the best versions of themselves and enjoy the process of the season.

What are you most looking forward to in the Spring 2022 season? 

Jada: As a professional tennis player, I’m excited to travel to new places and play at a higher level of tennis. It will be a challenge with the ongoing pandemic, but I’m looking forward to facing the ups and downs that come with being on tour. As a coach, I’m excited to begin my first season with the team. It will be a challenge to balance both roles, but I want to give everything that I have to the tour and the PPWT Team in order to reach great heights. 

In what ways do you hope to promote diversity and inclusion within the PP athletics community?

Jada: I believe that no matter what background you come from, whether it is race, socioeconomic status, or gender, diversity and inclusion are extremely important in any environment or team. During my time at UCLA, I served as a Bruin Ambassador, as part of a student group that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion on campus and within the athletics department. I believe that the best way to promote diversity and inclusion within Pomona-Pitzer’s athletic teams is to be mindful of everyone’s opinions and thoughts. Having open conversations and being open-minded are two important solutions to fostering an inclusive community. 

What advice would you give to high school athletes who are navigating the recruiting process?

Jada: My advice to high school athletes looking to play collegiate sports is to take your time and embrace the recruiting process. It is not easy to decide where you would like to spend your four years in college, but it is exciting to begin this journey. Do your research and learn a little bit more about each school, team, and coach before making a decision. Take a few deep breaths, remain calm, and have fun.

(Images courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

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