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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Thiago Dualiby finds a home as head coach for Stony Brook women’s tennis

Head coach Thiago Dualiby at a practice on Wednesday, Sept. 20. Dualiby was recently hired as the new coach of the Stony Brook women’s tennis team. PHOTO COURTESY OF STONY BROOK ATHLETICS

After moving his whole life around to be a part of the game, it is only right that Thiago Dualiby has landed the head coaching gig for the Stony Brook women’s tennis team.

Dualiby first discovered tennis at the age of 10 when passing by a court in his home city of São Paulo, Brazil. He decided to give it a shot, but little did Dualiby know how far the sport would take him. Tennis ultimately brought him to the United States, where he became a collegiate player. He rose through the college ranks and became an assistant for multiple programs before becoming the Seawolves’ head honcho.

Dualiby’s hiring comes in lieu of former head coach Gary Glassman’s retirement following the conclusion of the 2023 season. The six-time America East Coach of the Year left a big void to fill, and it is Dualiby’s job to keep things rolling at Stony Brook.

“For me, it’s basically a dream job,” Dualiby said in an interview with The Statesman. “I couldn’t be happier with the situation here. Everyday I wake up ready to practice.”

After spending the first 17 years of his life in Brazil, Dualiby was attracted to competing at the collegiate level in the United States. The idea became more enticing when he received a full-ride athletic scholarship from Martin Methodist College — now University of Tennessee Southern — an NAIA school in Pulaski, Tenn. Not even a legal adult yet, Dualiby decided to take the leap.

Dualiby spent two years at Martin Methodist before transferring to Mount Olive College — now University of Mount Olive — an NCAA Division II school in North Carolina. It was during his time with Mount Olive that Dualiby came into his own on the court, earning First Team All-Conference honors in 2009.

During his time in college, Dualiby interned at a pickle factory in quality control. His disinterest in the job helped him narrow down his future career options.

“It was an interesting experience, but I didn’t want to be stuck in the lab,” Dualiby said.

Following his last season playing collegiate tennis, Dualiby needed one more year of schooling to fulfill the requirements of his scholarship. With no remaining NCAA eligibility as a player, he landed a position as a student assistant for the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Mount Olive.

The experience as a student assistant was eye-opening to Dualiby, as he identified differences between coaching and playing.

“That was the first time that I was like ‘Okay, maybe this is what I want to do,’” Dualiby said. “[As a player] I felt like sometimes I needed to be more grounded and just have a little more reassurance. I felt like [as a coach] I could kind of support the players … and hopefully I can sense that and give some advice and try to help them do better than I did.”

The Trojans’ men’s tennis team won the Conference Carolinas championship in Dualiby’s lone year on the staff.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and business management, Dualiby served as an assistant tennis department head at Camp Vega in Fayette, Maine. He evaluated the performance and provided reports of campers, which provided him with experience that prepared him for his next stop in collegiate coaching.

In 2012, Dualiby moved to Boston to serve as an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He saw even more success with the Knights, as both the men’s and women’s programs won their respective Northeast Conference tournament championships in 2013.

Dualiby was introduced to Long Island in the summer of 2013 when he began working at Excel Tennis Camp for Sportime Quogue in East Quogue, N.Y. Starting as a director, he made his way up to senior professional tennis operations, where he coached top players and supervised the coaching staff.

He worked for Sportime for three years. Though he enjoyed his time at the camp, it helped him realize his true desire.

“It was a great experience to learn something different and something new,” Dualiby said. “But for me, college tennis is what I wanted to go back to.”

During Dualiby’s time at Sportime, he took a shot at emailing Glassman about the possibility of being an assistant coach at Stony Brook. Though Dualiby was a good candidate for the job, it fell through due to circumstances that were out of his control.

“The visa was an issue,” Dualiby said. “I think the position was open, but [Stony Brook] didn’t sponsor visas.”

To get himself back through the door of the NCAA, Dualiby enrolled at Illinois State University in the summer of 2016. There, he served as a graduate assistant on the coaching staff while pursuing a master’s degree in sports management.

Dualiby finished his second degree in 2018, but he did not have a bigger coaching job lined up. He moved back to Long Island and spent his time giving tennis lessons to younger players. Aspiring for more, he grabbed a cup of coffee with St. John’s women’s tennis head coach Lauren Leo. The meeting went exactly how Dualiby needed it to, and it ended in an agreement for him to serve as one of Leo’s assistants.

His time ended at St. John’s after just one year because he had to renew his green card. Once his green card was renewed, Dualiby returned to Long Island and served another short stint with Sportime, this time in Lynbrook, N.Y. Though it was his second stint with Sportime, neither his goals nor feelings changed.

“When teaching in private leagues, it’s like ‘Yeah, it’s good,’ but it becomes a barrier,” Dualiby said. “If it’s not your main passion, I think it goes hand in hand. If you’re happy with your work, then it doesn’t feel like work.”

Dualiby’s time giving private lessons on Long Island allowed him to develop a love for the place. Once Glassman retired and his position at Stony Brook became available, Dualiby looked into the job. With his younger sister — Tatiana Dualiby — already attending the school as a graduate student, he felt further incentivized to join her as a Seawolf.

Luckily, Director of Athletics Shawn Heilbron felt that Dualiby was the perfect fit for the program.

“We’re really excited to have Thiago on board,” Heilbron said in a press release. “He brings tremendous energy, passion for the game and a real desire to mentor our young women and help them be great both on the court and in the classroom.”

So far, Dualiby is loving his dream job.

“Being in a place that has such a great environment motivates me to be here,” Dualiby said. “I’m happy to be working and doing what I’m doing.”

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About the Contributor
Kenny Spurrell, Assistant Sports Editor
Kenny Spurrell is an Assistant Sports Editor of The Statesman. He is a senior English major and journalism minor at Stony Brook University. He began covering sports for The Statesman during the Fall 2021 semester. Since then, he has covered men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s lacrosse and football. His passion for sports derives from his many years of playing basketball, football and baseball. He is a Long Island native from Selden, N.Y. and has dreams of becoming a sports journalist.
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