Alumni Spotlight

Dick Gould, ’59, MA ’60

An inspiring education professor helped set Stanford's iconic tennis coach on his chosen path 

“Big CONGRATS to the GSE during this centennial celebration! 

“I enrolled at Stanford in the 1950s as a would-be political science major with an eye toward law school, but after my freshman year I realized that a major in education would lead straight into a master's program and a teaching credential, so I took that route. 

“I was hooked in my first class, Introduction to Phys Ed, taught by Dr. John Nixon, the long-standing chairperson of the School of Education’s Physical Education Department. He had a profound impact on my life, and because of his influence, I majored in physical education. I fell in love with teaching and attempting to instill a joy of learning in my students.

“In 1966, I was hired to be Stanford's first full-time tennis coach which began an exhilarating career in men’s tennis highlighted by: 17 NCAA team championships, ten NCAA singles champions, seven NCAA doubles championship teams, and coaching numerous players who achieved top-15 world singles rankings including more than 50 Grand Slam singles and doubles championships. 

“In the interim, I published a how-to textbook on teaching and coaching tennis and produced numerous supporting instructional videos. 

“In summary, I have had the pleasure and good fortune to serve full time at Stanford for 51 years: first as men’s tennis coach and later as director of tennis (over half of the GSE’s existence!) 

“My wife, Anne, also earned her master’s degree in education at Stanford. She coached the women’s tennis team and taught physical education tennis classes at Stanford for 30 years. She is retired now, but together we represent a combined 81 years of active service to Stanford University! Thank you, GSE, for inspiring and enabling us to better serve others! 

Gould, left, with political science Prof. David Abernethy, prepares to receive the Cuthbertson Award for service to Stanford at 2002 Commencement.
Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

“My advice to fellow alumni:

Relish the moment

Dream big and with no fear of failure

Do what you do with humility, dignity and class

Give back to those who have helped you along the way (including the GSE)

Have FUN. And your students will too!”

Dick Gould, 59, MA  ’60, retired as head coach in 2004 as the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Division I tennis. He helped develop the nonprofit East Palo Alto Tennis and Tutoring, which has enhanced the academic and athletic skills of thousands of children and teens. 

In 2002, Stanford gave him the Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for his contributions to the university. 

Dick is now the John L. Hinds Director of Tennis at Stanford.

Top photo: Dick Gould coaches Jared Palmer,  the 1991 NCAA men's singles champion who went on to win 28 professional doubles titles.