David Salazar has a master's degree in accounting from Lipscomb University but the lure of the tennis court has overtaken his pursuit of recording financial transactions. Salazar is serving as a volunteer assistant coach for Army. His journey to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York started while he was playing tennis for the Bisons. He talks about his past, present and future this week with lipscombsports.com.
What years did you play tennis at Lipscomb? Who were your coaches?
"I played tennis at Lipscomb from 2010 to 2014. My head coaches were Andrew Harris and Mario Hernandez."
You are originally from Texas. What made you decide to play tennis at Lipscomb?
"I took a year off after high school to play tennis tournaments. I was looking at several universities. I took visits to Indiana University and Marquette. Those were big schools.
"Then I got a phone call from Andrew Harris who was Lipscomb's head coach at the time. I had never heard of Lipscomb University. I didn't even know how to pronounce it right.
"I took a visit and fell in love with the place. I liked the academics. I liked the size of the school. I liked that people actually knew you and you weren't just a number. I was part of the tennis team and a part of the community.
"I actually could talk to my professors as opposed to a school like Indiana where you were in a general class for 500 students.
"I fell in love with Nashville. It is a great city. I miss it so much. I plan to visit in November."
How were you able to find a spot coaching the Army tennis team?
"Some of the reasons I had a chance to come over to West Point were my work ethic and my character.
"I was offered a position with them when I was a sophomore at Lipscomb. We had beaten Army in a tournament in Dayton, Ohio during the 2012 season. They talked to me after the match. They told me they would wait on me if I wanted to coach with them when I graduated from Lipscomb.
"I worked camps in the summer for coach Jim Pohling at West Point and New Jersey the past three years. I told him I was interested in working with him. After I graduated May 3 I was at West Point May 19.
"I got into the prep school at West Point. But I had already taken a year off from high school. I didn't want to take another year before going to college. I didn't want to be a 20-year-old freshman."
What is your fondest athletic memory at Lipscomb?
"My freshman year we were playing against Mercer. I was playing in the last match. I was actually cramping the whole third set. By the time I won the match I actually had a full body cramp and had to go to the hospital.
"I clinched the match with my win. It was the first time we had ever beaten Mercer. Even though I had to go to the hospital it was the most rewarding feeling."
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Lipscomb? How?
"Mario Hernandez. I always brag about him here at West Point. When I was a freshman I had probably the best captain Lipscomb ever had in Mario.
"Mario is one of the reasons I came to Lipscomb. On my recruiting trip he spoke to me and guided me. He was someone I could look up to. He leads by example and has strong character. He is very enthusiastic and passionate about the game of tennis which is something I admire."
What is your fondest non-athletic memory from your time at Lipscomb?
"Probably receiving my degree. It was hard managing tennis and accounting. It was so rewarding to be on stage and shaking President Lowry's hand and getting my diploma."
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Lipscomb?
"There are not a lot of schools like Lipscomb. They focus on the academic part, the athletic part and character.
"With Lipscomb being a church school you learn about the Bible. I came there with good character, but I came away even stronger. The coaches at West Point told me they were looking for someone with good morals and good ethics as an assistant coach at West Point."
Who was your favorite professor? Why?
"Charles Frasier and Dr. Perry Moore.
"Both of them are very gentle people. They actually cared about what I was going to do in accounting and pursuing a career.
"I told Dr, Moore about this position at West Point and that I wasn't sure whether to follow accounting or follow my dream. He told me to follow my dream of being a tennis coach and pursue my passion for tennis.
"Dr. Moore loves sports. He knew how every team was doing at Lipscomb. I really appreciated that."
Where do you live now?
"I am living in Garrison, New York, just across the Hudson River from the United States Military Academy at West Point."
Who is your employer? What is your occupation? What does your position entail?
"The United States Military Academy. I am a volunteer assistant tennis coach. I also give private tennis lessons.
"This is a good stepping stone. I want to be a college tennis coach. In time I will figure out what is going to happen."
Tell us about your family.
"I am single."
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.