Pennington views No. 13 as lucky number

From Mirror reports

HAMILTON, N.Y. — The number 13 figures heavily into fall sports programs at Colgate University, and Altoona native Bobby Pennington is a big part of the mix.

He will begin his 13th season as head coach of both the men’s and women’s tennis programs this week.

“I came in July 2006, so right about 12 years ago now. I remember trying to get acclimated to everything and trying to get everything figured out on the fly,” Pennington said. “I had a lot on my plate in the first two months because I was pretty much starting from scratch. I remember trying to get acclimated, trying to find my way around, meet people, set the schedule and hire an assistant.”

Pennington, a 1997 graduate of Altoona Area High School, now has 226 wins at Colgate, 126 with the men and 100 with the women. He is second in wins in the women’s program history and third in the men’s.

Both teams open their seasons on Friday at the Bucknell Invitational.

“I’m definitely excited. I’m trying to fine-tune the program in every way,” Pennington said. “I was really proud last year because our men had their best season since 1998. They set the school record for wins at 15 and finished in the top three in the Patriot League. It was an accomplishment. I am really looking forward to a solid women’s season this year as well. We are very young, but we could be much better.”

Pennington, 39, has appreciated Colgate’s stability and marketability.

“I try to sell the fact that it is such a unique place and there is nowhere really like it as far as it is Division I, but it does have a small school feel to it,” he said. “Great academics, but what I try and sell is high level Patriot League tennis. The Patriot League in tennis has improved a ton since I’ve been here. It has gotten way deeper; the level has gone way higher. So they get a chance to play Division I tennis, which is a dream for a lot of kids, and they get a great education. It is a great mix.”

Along with Pennington, women’s lacrosse coach Heather Young and women’s volleyball coach Ryan Baker are all beginning their 13th seasons at Colgate.

They arrived in the summer of 2006 as single coaches, and now all three are married with a combined total of eight children — and two more on the way.

Pennington and his wife, Jenny, have children Mia and Clifford, and are expecting.