Philadelphia Freedoms Name New Head Coach
For Josh Cohen, tennis has always been a family affair; now he’s the head of that family. At the kick off of the 2012 Philadelphia Freedoms season with the “Battle at Green Valley,” Freedoms owner Billie Jean King introduced Josh Cohen as the head coach of this year’s team.
“[Josh is] one of the most kind people I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve been watching him for a few years and thinking in my head that someday I would like him to be the head coach, and this is a perfect opportunity” said King in the opening speeches at Green Valley.
But the Philadelphia Freedoms family is not the only tennis family to which Josh belongs. Just one glance at the two beaming faces of Cohen’s parents watching as he began to play the Green Valley exhibition match against former top-ranked ITF junior Jarrett Chirico shed light on the important role tennis plays in their family.
“We started Josh playing tennis at two and a half years old because I thought it was the greatest game in the world,” said Josh’s father, Dr. Richard Cohen.
A native of Philadelphia himself, Josh was ranked top ten in the world in the juniors and number one nationally in every USTA age group from the 12’s through the 18’s. He competed in all four Grand Slams and reached the quarterfinals of the French Open Junior Championships and the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open. During his career in the juniors, Josh was ranked as high as 19th in the world. After graduating from the University of Miami on the Dean’s List and an All-American as the winningest player in the program’s history, Josh went on to become the Assistant Coach at the University of Pennsylvania. He has played World Team Tennis for the Delaware Smash and Freedoms as well.
According to King, tennis is a lifetime sport. That’s undoubtedly what it is for the Cohen family.
In 2007 the family set a national record, winning consecutive United States father-and-son and father-and-daughter USTA National Championships. In 2008 Josh’s mother Nancy Cohen and sister Julia Cohen won the national grass court mother-and-daughter championships as well. Julia is currently on the WTA circuit and has been ranked as high as 153 in the world in WTA singles. In 2011 Julia was also a substitute player for the Freedoms.
According to Richard, Josh coaches Julia whenever she’s in town and he says Josh is probably the number one reason why Julia has improved so much since college. It’s those incredible coaching skills that he will bring to the Freedoms as head coach.
“I’m so proud of him.,” said Richard. “Josh is going to bring good people skills, but underneath that he’s very competitive. He’s meticulous. He’s going to pick up little things. He knows all the good mentally tough techniques and he’s going to help the Freedoms be really mentally tough out there.”
The Cohen family and the Freedoms family have certainly embraced one another.
“I feel so privileged that Billie Jean King gave me this chance,” said Josh. “I just want to make the best of it. Billie is so passionate about the Freedoms and everything it stands for. It’s an amazing opportunity.”