Brady living out childhood dream with Golden Eagles

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Ian Brady is a sophomore on the Marquette men’s tennis team from Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Before sophomore Ian Brady ever laid eyes on the optic yellow tennis ball or picked up a racket, the likelihood that he would be playing tennis was nearly a guarantee.

Brady first started playing tennis at the age of five after seeing his dad and older brother play the sport.

“I just picked up a racket and just went on the court and just fell in love,” Brady said.

There was a path for Brady to become a successful player, as he noticed early on he was best at tennis compared to the other sports he was playing like soccer, baseball and basketball.

Brady said he still enjoyed playing those sports but had an early exposure to success and high level competition with tennis.

“I think within the first three years of me playing, I was playing at national tournaments,” Brady said.

With the early success, Brady had a coach who had known him since birth and who he called ‘dad.’

Brady’s father, Tim Brady, played tennis at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and has been his coach his entire life going into college.

The dynamic of having his dad as a coach has helped Brady, as he said he believes that their personal relationship makes the coaching better.

“He’s an awesome coach and he knows so much about the game, has been around tennis for a long time and then he just knew me personally,” Brady said. “He knew me so well and was able to kind of tap in and use our personal relationship to make me a better player.”

When Brady started looking into where he’d take his talents to play collegiate tennis, his trainer Chad Stanley asked if he’d talked with Marquette and head coach Steve Rodecap, who Stanley has known since their days of playing little league together.

“One of my other good friends was one of Ian’s coaches growing up too,” Rodecap said. “Chad and I have known each other since we played baseball together at four years old.”

Shortly after their conversation about Marquette, Brady and Rodecap started talking.

“We just kind of started talking a little and Chad would talk to him too and tell him things about me,” Brady said. “Our relationship kind of sprouted from there and just grew.”

During Brady’s recruitment Rodecap said that his conversations with Brady included little to no discussion about tennis as he already knew what Brady was like as a player.

“When I recruit guys we don’t really talk that much about tennis. It’s more about life and things like that and less about actual tennis,” Rodecap said. “I’ve seen Ian play 20 matches before he got here so it was nothing tennis-wise that I really wanted to talk about.”

Rodecap, who hails from Indiana, said he was excited to get a recruit from the state he grew up in.

“We hadn’t had a kid from Indiana in a while so it was good to get one of them,” Rodecap said.

The relationship that Brady and Rodecap built while Brady was in high school helped Brady find that Rodecap would the coach who could best develop his game.

“Coach was one of the biggest reasons that I chose coming here,” Brady said. “I think he’s awesome and that he could make me into the best player that I can be.”

Prior to coming to Marquette, Brady said he heard what college practices were like and yet was excited to get involved with college tennis.

“When you’re like a junior (in high school) you hear a lot about college practices being hard, a lot of conditioning, so I was definitely expecting that,” Brady said. “I was just super excited to come and be part of a team. College tennis is very energetic and we yell a lot, we get loud and I was just expecting it to be super fun and it has been.”

Now in his sophomore season with the Golden Eagles, Brady has played in more matches and had a full fall season where he competed in both singles and doubles.

With more matches, the team has traveled more and Brady even said that the team has gotten to spend more time together.

“It’s been super fun just being out there competing with the guys, traveling and doing all that,” Brady said.

Going forward in his career, Rodecap sees Brady’s role as one that will only continue to grow.

“He’s going to have a big, big part of our future here,” Rodecap said. “He’s a guy that we’re going to have to depend on.”

This article was written by Ben Schultz. He can be reached at benjamin.a.schultz@marquette.edu or on Twitter @benschultz52.