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UCSB tennis coach Simon Thibodeau comes out as gay

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Thibodeau was the WAC coach of the year six times

Simon Thibodeau became UCSB's tennis coach last year and came out to the administration and team this spring
Simon Thibodeau became UCSB's tennis coach last year and came out to the administration and team this spring

When UCSB tennis coach Simon Thibodeau first contacted Outsports in June, he wanted to join the growing list of gay coaches who had come out. Yet he struggled with how to do it, how much to tell, and when to do it. He had been talking with UCLA softball coach Kirk Walker, who was helping guide his journey.

Yesterday he took the big step and discussed his sexual orientation with John Branch of the New York Times.

There are still concerns about the impact his public revelation will have on the team's momentum. Thibodeau's success hinges on recruiting and fund-raising. He has spent much of his first year focused on grooming talent and meeting current and potential donors to the program - just as he has his whole career.

"With all those things, I never really ever knew where to put my private life," he said.

Now, he will carry it with him, publicly.

"I don't want to wear more masks," he said. "It is a mask, I guess. I'm talking to someone, and they don't really know who I am."

Thibodeau, who grew up in Quebec, formerly coached at Fresno State where he was the WAC coach of the year six times.

UCSB tennis player Matt Coin came out publicly on Outsports in 2005.