Meet the MIT Women’s Tennis Coach Stepping Forward as an Athlete Ally Ambassador

Carol Matsuzaki is the women’s tennis coach at MIT. A five-time New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Women’s Tennis Coach of the Year, and the 2007 ITA Northeast Regional Coach of the Year, Matsuzaki is the winningest coach in MIT women’s tennis history. Matsuzaki was a standout tennis player at MIT before receiving a degree in biology and graduate degree from Boston University in sports psychology. She is the author of “Tennis Fundamentals” and visible ally in the MIT athletic department. Below, she spoke with Athlete Ally Communication Coordinator Ethan Sobel.

Q: How do young athletes living their truth as openly LGBT people help inspire you as a coach?

A: How LGBT people have been accepted has changed so much since I was a college athlete.  And I think a large part of that change is happening because young athletes are living their truth as openly LGBT people and being celebrated by the people around them!  As a coach, it inspires me to live my own life openly for any athletes or students that may be living in fear.

Q: Why do you think it’s important for coaches to be vocal allies?

A: It’s important for coaches to be vocal allies.  Often times coaches are the people that athletes are closest to on campus.  For an athlete to trust 100% that their coach will be supportive of them when they come out as LGBT is very important.

Q: Tell me more about you! Why is allyship important to you? What’s your background in athletics?

A: I’m in my 16th year as head coach of women’s tennis at MIT.  I live in Somerville, MA with my wife Katy and son Jack and dog Daisy.  It’s a pretty good life!  Allyship is important to me because there are still a lot of LGBT people out there who live in fear or are not sure what to do or what the consequences will be if they come out.  It’s important for them to see that there are supportive people everywhere and that living their truth will be positive and empowering!