The Columbia men's tennis team continues to thrive under Bid Goswami, as he enters his 33rd season at the helm in 2014-15.
In 2014, his 32nd season as head coach, Goswami led the Lions to one of their finest years in program history. Columbia posted a 20-1 record during the regular season, winning its 11th Ivy League Championship, ninth under Goswami's direction, en route to earning the No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The No. 16 ranking was the highest ever in program history. Columbia then went on to defeat East Tennessee State and Vanderbilt in the NCAA Regional Tournament, advancing to the NCAA Championships Sweet 16. The regional victories were the first ever in Columbia men's tennis history.
Goswami coached four All-Ivy League first team selections in 2013-14, led by Player of the Year and All-American Winston Lin who went 15-0 during the dual season. Dragos Ignat earned a spot on the singles first team for the second straight year, while the doubles tandem of Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur were once again unanimously selected to the doubles first team.
For the second consecutive year, the 2013 Ivy League Rookie of the Year came from Columbia. Dragos Ignat found himself as the Lions No. 2 singles player in dual action and matched 2012's Rookie of the Year, Winston Lin, with 24 overall victories. Ignat and Lin each were selected to the All-Ivy League first team for singles, while Ashok Narayana and Max Schnur picked up first team doubles honors. Narayana, the Lions' No. 3, garnered second team singles accolades.
As a team, the 2013 Lions finished 15-7 overall and 5-2 in conference play, just one victory shy of a share for the Ivy League title. Columbia rose to as high as No. 32 in the nation, the highest mark the Lions have achieved since the 1987 season when they eciplsed the top-20. A slew of stellar victories highlighted Goswami's 31st season at the helm of the Columbia men's tennis program. The Lions recorded their first win over a top-40 foe at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, upsetting No. 36 Louisvile, 4-1. Just weeks later at the Blue-Gray Invitational, Columbia downed then No. 38 Nebraska to finish the tournament 2-1.
Goswami's exceptional coaching practices have been passed along to his staff, as Associate Head Coach Howard Endelman was recognized by the ITA as the Northeast Assistant Coach of the Year in 2013.
In 2012, Columbia had an outstanding season in which the Lions posted an 18-4 record, defeating the likes of TCU and SMU during its spring break trip to Texas. Columbia finished 5-2 in the Ivy League, a game shy of its second league title in three years.
Columbia did return to the NCAA Tournament, however, earning an at-large bid. It was the second time in school history that the Lions earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In 2012, Columbia's Lin lit the Ivy League on fire and earned Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors. Lin was Columbia's third Rookie of the Year in six seasons, following in the footsteps of teammate Haig Schneiderman, also a first team All-Ivy honoree in 2012.
The 2010 season saw Columbia go a near perfect 6-1 in the Ivy League, and 16-4 overall, earning an NCAA tournament berth for the third time in four years. It was the eighth time Goswami has taken the Lion men’s tennis team to a league title — both the Eastern Intercollegiate Tennis Association (EITA) and its successor, the Ivy League.
Three members of Columbia’s squad were honored by the Ivy League at the end of the season, as Mihai Nichifor ‘12SEAS and Jonathan Wong ‘12CC both earned unanimous first-team All-Ivy League honors in both singles and doubles. Nichifor graduated with a perfect 14-0 Ivy League singles record, while Wong became the first player in Columbia men’s tennis history to be a part of three league championship teams. Haig Schneiderman ‘12CC was also honored by the league, as he earned a second-team singles nod after he went a perfect 7-0 in the No. 3 spot that season.
2009 was a season of similar success for the Lions, as they went 6-1 in the Ivy League, and 16-5 overall, earning a trip to the NCAA tournament. Schneiderman was a unanimous choice for 2009 Ivy League Rookie of the Year that season; it was the second time a player has been given such an honor in recent years, as Wong earned the honor in 2007.
Four other Lions were given All-Ivy honors as the reigning league champions in 2009. Earning distinction in singles were Bogdan Borta ‘09CC (first team), Wong (second team) and Nichifor (second team). Nichifor and Borta teamed up to earn first-team honors in doubles, while Wong and Schneiderman were selected as a second team All-Ivy doubles pair.
Goswami, who has earned numerous honors throughout his career, was honored twice during the 2006-07 season — by Columbia’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which noted that his 25 years as head coach made him second in coaching seniority in the entire department, and by his fellow northeastern tennis coaches, who voted him the Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year.
Both honors were well-deserved tributes to one of the Ivy League’s most successful and enduring tennis coaches. Goswami reaffirmed both during the season, when he led Columbia to the Ivy League championship and a trip to the NCAA Championships.
The Ivy League championship win by Columbia was something of a surprise for the Ancient Eight, which made Penn the favorite to take its second straight championship. But Goswami patiently led his team from the fall, when they finished second in the ECAC Championships and saw Jared Drucker earn a trip to the ITA National Indoors, to the highly successful spring. Columbia went 6-1 in the Ivy League and 16-3 overall.
Goswami’s teams have been particularly successful in the last decade. The Lions have won over 80 percent of their dual matches over the past five years, and just under 80 percent of their Ivy League matches. Goswami has had 12 players go from Columbia to the professional tour, including Jeff Chiang, the 1990 Collegiate Senior Player of the Year, Phil Williamson, the 1987 EITA Player of the Year, and Rob Kresberg, who went on to become the women’s tennis coach at Columbia. He also has seen 31 of his student-athletes named first team All-Ivy League in singles during his tenure.
A former touring pro, Goswami succeeded another ex-touring pro, Paul Gerken, in 1982. He was a member of the Indian Davis Cup squad in 1974-75 and won the Indian National Singles title in 1979 and the Doubles title in 1978.
A native of Assam, in the foothills of the Himalayas, Goswami earned a bachelor’s degree in business from St. Xavier’s College of Calcutta University in 1973 and competed for St. Xavier’s in tennis from 1970-73.
After leaving the tour, Goswami became a club professional; since 1977, he has been director of tennis at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. Goswami and his wife, Anne, reside in South Salem, N.Y. Their son, Blaise, is a graduate of Princeton University and their daughter, Linnae, a graduate of Columbia College, is a former captain of the Lions’ women’s tennis team.