When Frank Lico graduated from Santa Clara University in 1952, he led the California Intercollegiate Baseball Association in total bases and extra base hits. In addition, his Second-Team All-American honors and prominent role in the team's four-year 47-12-0 record, garnered him entry in to the Santa Clara Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006. One may not expect to hear however, that Lico's Santa Clara legacy lives on in more places than the baseball diamond.
In fact, it is on the tennis courts that Lico's most cherished contribution to the university dwells. His daughter, Tricia (Lico) Guidace, continues to build upon his legacy daily as an assistant coach to the women's tennis team, attributing her love for Santa Clara to her father's early influence. "I was always around Santa Clara sports through him. I was here for every sport, every season. Anything Bronco I was here," said Guidace in a recent interview.
Guidace quickly transitioned from budding sports fan to avid competitor herself. She was a standout four-sport athlete at Presentation High School in San Jose, where she and doubles partner Amber (Colbert) McDowell (SCU '86) captured several championships. She endured a stark adjustment period however, her freshmen year at St. Mary's College. One week of practice as a walk-on was enough for her to realize she did not want to be a college tennis player. "I was not ready to manage college academics and college tennis. I didn't want it like you should. I knew I couldn't do it at that stage in my life," said Guidace.
After transferring to San Jose State and earning her degree, Guidace still did not follow the normal path of a collegiate tennis coach. It was not until 10 years out of college, after getting married and having her daughter Ashley (Freshman at Chapman University) that Guidace picked up a racquet again. "I started playing tennis at the San Jose Swim and Racquet Club, and the head pro there [then SCU Head Coach Abby Ryan] invited me to assist her at the club as an assistant pro."
Guidace loved working on the courts, and after a few months of collaborating with Ryan, she made the move to her father's alma mater as a volunteer assistant. "I was born and raised in the Bay Area and even though I didn't get the chance to come to Santa Clara out of high school, I'm very proud of the fact that I get to work at my home town college." Guidace stepped in as the interim head coach after Ryan's retirement in 2001, and has been a constant presence in the program as an assistant coach over the past nine seasons.
Over those nine seasons, the quick-witted Guidace jokes that she has followed in her father's footsteps with some notable statistics of her own: 2 saves and 3 runs. "I've caught two girls that fainted and made three hospital trips. Now, if that isn't making a solid contribution I don't know what is."
Bronco head coach Ben Cabell enjoys Guidace's sense-of-humor, and attributes much of the program's achievements to her. "Trish is awesome and I feel lucky to have her in our program. She's been instrumental in the team's success over the years both on and off the court. She gets little recognition but has a huge impact."
Junior team Captain Kacie Wagner echoes Cabell's sentiments, and sums Guidace up in one word, 'mom'. "She is our mom away from home. She is always interested in our lives, in school, in everything else outside of tennis. She really has the ability to make everyone on the team feel comfortable and more like family."
It certainly seems as though Guidace is fostering her own dynasty in the young women she coaches, and that she is teaching the Santa Clara family values her father helped build, one fainting Bronco at a time.
Kelsey Houlihan '11