Coach Alan Nagel: Four Decades of Nothing but Success in Flushing

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The Queens born-and-raised Alan Nagel, who coaches the Queens College women’s tennis team, is seeking to win his 18th conference championship this season.

“All of the wonderful athletes I’ve coached, and all of the places we played: Arizona, Louisville, Orlando, and everywhere in between. I am still here with no plans to leave because coaching women’s tennis at Queens makes me feel young. And I love it,” Coach Nagel said of what sticks out to him looking back at his career thus far.

Coach Nagel has been the head coach of the Queens College women’s tennis team since 1980 back when Queens College was still a Division III program. During the course of over four decades Coach Nagel has accumulated 628 wins, 17 conference titles, over 20 NCAA Tournament berths and has impacted the tennis program on campus unlike any other. 

Queens College is a premiere collegiate tennis program, often competing against Division I schools despite being a Division II school itself in the East Coast Conference (ECC). The women’s tennis team is consistently ranked as one of the top programs on the east coast and across the entire country — often getting overseas talent to come play for the school.

“The best part of the whole experience was the opportunity to meet and coach many incredible international players from all over the globe,” coach Nagel said. “I got a chance to meet and become acquainted with their diverse families and cultures which I found extremely fascinating.”

Coach Nagel has seen around 140 international players come and go in his program, with all but three of the 10 players on his current roster coming from overseas.

“He doesn’t pressure us at all. Winning is a priority, of course, but he never stressed or pressured us,” said Caroline Hany-Fawzy, a team captain from Alexandria, Egypt. “He tries his best to make practice fun, and also when it comes to injuries, he is so protective and would always give us the time we need to recover.” 

Winning is something Coach Nagel knows well, as his 628 career wins is the third most wins by a coach in Division II women’s tennis history, according to an article the Intercollegiate Tennis Association published in 2021 considering updated win totals. Coach Nagel has won the East Coast Conference Coach of the Year award 13 times since the turn of the century, and the Knights have been to the conference championship in all but three seasons since then.

This winning way continues to this day, as they’re currently 3-0 on the season at the time of writing this, which includes a 4-3 road victory over the St. Thomas Aquinas College Spartans who bested the Knights in the ECC Championship last season. This perfect record places them as the first seed in the conference.

“Coach Alan is a very caring coach. He is always asking us how we are feeling and if we need anything. He will always put his players first,” said Maja Makal, captain of the team and two-time Conference Player of the Year. “He just loves practice and competitiveness, he is really dedicated and Queens College has a big spot in his heart.”

By the time this publishes, Coach Nagel and the Knights will have played two additional matches, but with two conference matches left before the ECC Championship, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Knights turn it up a notch in pursuit of Coach Nagel’s 18th conference title.

Holden Velasco

Editor-in-Chief at The Knight News. Queens. Sports. Writing. CUNY Product. NetsDaily at SB Nation. New York Times Corps member. Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. Formerly SLAM.

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