The man behind the serve

Min Woo So talks about career passion, tennis and much more in this in-depth interview.



Coach So has coached the VNHS tennis team for over four years.

By Nathan Han, Online Editor-in-Chief

Mr. Min Woo So joined the wolfpack in back in 2016 after receiving his teaching credentials and Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at Cal State University of Northridge and ever since then he’s been coaching the tennis team and teaching Physical Education.

Finding his passions in school

When I was young, I was always asked the question ‘what do I want to do when I grow up.’ From an early age, I looked toward my subjects in school to figure out what my interests were, and I realized the only time I had fun was in PE class. 

Before I realized that, I wanted to be a veterinarian because I liked animals. However, biology class just wasn’t interesting to me, so I thought about my classes again and that’s when pe class came to mind.

Figure out what your interests are and try to make money from it.

I know a lot of parents try to tell their kids to be a lawyer or doctor because you can make money, but if you don’t enjoy your job or profession, what motivation would you have to keep pursuing that path? I know a lot of friends who stopped going to school because they were not motivated enough to pursue the path of a doctor. 

The Challenges of Covid-19 

As a teacher, I do feel more stressed because I have to redo many of my lesson plans. It’s still going to incorporate all the same topics that I taught before, but I have to instruct them differently. I find the new changes to the classes difficult but fun. If you aren’t given new challenges, even teaching can be boring. 

How to have fun during your workouts 

During the lockdown, I wouldn’t leave the house. I would just work out in the living room and have a song or a video playing in the background. I enjoy working out but it can get boring, which is why I like having something fun playing in the background. I wish students could incorporate that into their workout. I know a lot of students find exercise tedious, but if they do it while they watch something, they could have a lot more fun. 

From Lifeguard to Tennis Coach 

I started swimming when I was in elementary school. After I graduated high school, I was a lifeguard for ten years. I think because I’ve been swimming for more than half of my life, I just feel burnt out from it. 

 I stopped lifeguarding when I got hired as a teacher.  The school asked me if I wanted to coach tennis, and I decided to give it a shot.  I had some experience in tennis, I learned as a kid and I played from time to time, but I just did it for fun. People might be good at something but they might not enjoy it. That’s why I always tell people you should find your interests and pursue that. 

I love to challenge myself and better myself. Since I wasn’t the best at tennis, it just made me want to get better at it. 

First, Baby Steps

 I recommend tennis anime for players interested in the sport, I tell that to a lot of my friends interested in playing tennis. I recommend the anime, Baby Steps. The story is about a new player who uses strategy, work ethic, and practice to rise through the ranks of the tennis world. 

The Golden Rule is Respect

I want to make sure captains can communicate with students on the team, kids outside of the team, and me. If I can’t communicate with captains on the team, the class will get out of hand. There are many different qualities I look for in a leader. Captains should show respect towards everyone, and they should be a model student with good morals and experience in whatever sport they do. Captains don’t have to be the best player on the team, but I want them to have experience and the ability to spread that knowledge towards others. 

I won’t be the only one deciding; I think that all the kids should have a say in voting for the captain because the leaders should have respect from the kids on the team.

Can students still join tennis?

Yes, there are tryouts, and interested students should contact me directly at my email [email protected]. Since social contact is not possible for tennis, they should just contact me and I will do my best to teach them.

Any words for freshmen?

 The one thing I would say is VNHS is a fun and welcoming place. The students make the school community a great place to be in.