Lois Arterberry has been working for a long time toward one day becoming a big-time college head coach. After two seasons guiding St. Thomas through its transition from Division III to Division I, last month Arterberry was named University of Minnesota head tennis coach, bringing more than nine years of coaching experience to Dinkytown.
Arterberry becomes the school’s first Black woman to be named a head coach in 22 years, and only the third Black woman HC ever hired at Minnesota.“Oh, wow. That’s amazing,” said Arterberry when told this in our exclusive interview shortly after Gopher AD Mark Coyle hired her. “I have been working my entire career to get to this point, just to get a Power Five job. Everything that I’ve done has been centered around this.”
The Grenada native’s coaching journey began as a graduate assistant for two years at Southern University, where she graduated with a B.A. in business management (2013), and a master’s in business administration (2015). She also played tennis there collegiately, and finished as a three-time Southwestern Athletic Conference champion (2011-13).
A top tennis player in her home country, Arterberry represented Grenada in 2014 at the Caribbean and Central American Games. She was the number-two female player from 2002-14, and a five-time Grenada Sports Woman of the Year award-winner.
After her graduate assistant stint, Arterberry was named Eastern Illinois head coach (2017), after two seasons as Jackson State men’s and women’s HC. She joined St. Thomas after two seasons working with the University of Missouri women’s tennis team, first as a volunteer aide, then as an assistant coach. She also was a volunteer assistant coach at North Carolina-Asheville (2018-19).
Now she finds herself in her first head coaching job at a big-time school like Minnesota. “The opportunity came and I took a chance. And it worked out,” Arterberry said. “To be honest, I’ve been applying for jobs at this level for a really long time and haven’t had any looks. There’s a lot of reasons why I think it didn’t work out.”
The Minnesota opening “was just a good opportunity and I took the opportunity,” she said proudly.
Coaching across the river at St. Thomas through its transitional years was challenging for her players, she noted. “I felt like they did a good job of adjusting in the best way that they can. I had a great group of girls there. They didn’t complain…even though they were coming from a Division III program.”
In a press release, Coyle said Arterberry brings “a world-class experience for our student-athletes and will prepare them to be successful athletically, academically and socially.”
“I’m a firm believer that if you want to be successful, you have to put in the work,” said Arterberry. “I have sacrificed a lot to get to where I am right now. I think if you want to be successful, you just have to put in the work and you have to continue to grow.
“You have to push yourself sometimes, even when you don’t want to. Sometimes when you don’t feel like it… There’s always room to grow. So, you got to put in the effort…put in the work and you’ll see the results.
“I want to motivate my student-athletes,” said Arterberry. “I want them to know that whatever they put their minds to, they can get it. That’s how I live my life on a daily basis.”
Arterberry assumes a Gopher tennis program that last season was forced to shut down early due to too many injuries and not enough players to compete. “Our goal is to continue to grow and build this program,” said the new head coach.
“I need everyone’s support—fans, the [players’] family and friends—to come out and support the team and just show love to these girls, and we’ll get there.”