Jan Houston Barrick played tennis for Belmont from 1979-1981. In three seasons, she posted a singles record of 36-6 and doubles mark of 32-5. In addition, she won three Volunteer State Athletic Conference (VSAC) Individual Championships and helped her 1979 team win the VSAC Western Division Championship. Jan recently spoke to BelmontBruins.com about her time at Belmont, her life as a wife and mother, and how tennis has been a constant in life after her playing career ended.
Why did you choose Belmont?
My older sister attended Belmont. I was able to get a “sneak peek” of the campus and dorm life when I visited her. It was easy to see that Belmont was going to be a perfect fit for me.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
I loved being a part of the tennis team. Every spring break we would take a trip to Florida to practice, team- build, and prepare for the upcoming season. We stayed in a town house development that had their tennis courts in the middle of the property. All of the retired “snow birds” would come out to watch our practices. It was fun having a built-in cheering section of friendly and supportive spectators. Meeting those sweet new friends will always be a favorite memory.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
For me, tennis had always been more about making sure I had the cutest tennis dresses than having the best groundstrokes! My game may have been ugly but I wanted to always look my best as I found a way to power through and win! That is until I played for Coach Betty Wiseman. She brought her basketball coaching skills to the tennis court. Needless to say, it was an adjustment at first. Running the Boulevard, working on strength and conditioning, and doing quick ball pickup drills were a whole new world to me! I quickly realized that all of those things work together to make a successful athlete. After a while, I was completely onboard and was seeing positive results from those hard practices during my matches! Our team improved and had success because of the leadership (and patience) of our head coach, Betty Wiseman. She taught me that you can work hard, compete hard, and still wear cute tennis dresses!
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
I feel like Belmont was an umbrella for me. Coming from a smaller town/high school, Belmont gave me the comfort and security that I needed, but it was also open for me to experience a bigger world. The campus location allowed me to explore the city and be exposed to all kinds of opportunities, but at the end of the day, I was able to retreat back to my cozy home in Wright Hall. Belmont offered me the perfect environment for transitioning from high school to college on to the real world.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Mike Awalt was amazing! His classes weren’t ever easy, but he found a way to make you want to learn. He made each of us feel important and that our opinion mattered. It was obvious that he really did care about each of us.
Where do you live now?
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
I’ve worked as the Tennis Event Coordinator for 30 years. (I’m actually retiring in December.)
My job has included many things over the years such as running tournaments, planning social events, coordinating league play and junior programs. My favorite part has been serving as the buyer for the tennis pro shop! My love of shopping and buying/wearing cute tennis clothes has been put to good use!
Tell us about your family.
I’ve been married to Steven Barrick (Associate Athletic Director at Belmont) for 32 years. We have three sons.
Houston is the head tennis coach at the University of Richmond in Richmond, VA. (Wife Laura, daughter Charlotte). He also played collegiately at Virginia.
Johnson is an athletic facilities coordinator at The University of Texas at San Antonio. (Wife Kristen)
Sanders is a senior at Mississippi College and plays on the MC Choctaw tennis team.