Bates head tennis coach Paul Gastonguay directs the action during a recent tennis match. Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College

Paul Gastonguay said his success in tennis hinged on the support of his coaches and family.

The Lewiston native is also grateful to be surrounded by talented athletes who excelled in the sport under his tutelage.

Gastonguay’s stellar careers as a pro tennis player and college coach have earned the longtime Bates College skipper induction into the Maine Tennis Hall of Fame along with seven other recipients at The Woodlands in Falmouth from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Gastonguay, 56, will be joining as part of the Class of 2019 inductees, including the late Bill Kayatta Sr., Devi Maganti, Brian Mavor and Glen Mayberry. Due to a hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, on Saturday the Hall of Fame will also induct the Class of 2020, which includes longtime Lewiston High School girls coach Anita Murphy, Brian Patterson and Eric Blakeman.

Gastonguay, 56, is honored to make the cut and enter the Maine Tennis Hall of Fame. 

“It is huge,” he said. “All the legends of the state that I grew up watching, that led to inspire me from a young age are all in (the Hall). It’s humbling to be included with them.” 


He said there were countless supporters who inspired him to make tennis his passion. 

Gastonguay’s former coach George Wigton, who died in March 2022 at age 93, provided an opportunity for the Lewiston native to play for Bates College. Gastonguay also pointed to former tennis pro and Bates 1981 graduate Buddy Schultz as someone he looked up to and admired. 

Gastonguay played many sports growing up, but he only competed in tennis at Lewiston High School.

“I played my first tournament in the rec department program that my dad (Jean) ran for years.” Gastonguay recalled. “My bother, Mark, and I would just tag along, and we would be with (our dad) all morning during the clinics, and then we would go back and play in the afternoon. (My dad) was a great coach.”

Gastonguay said he is super competitive and enjoys the challenge of going one on one with an opponent. 

“I think what tennis did for me was allow me to be the only one out there and know that it is all up to me — and I thrived in that environment,” he said. “It is such a mental game. I think that’s what it teaches you. There is a winner and loser every single point. It is how you respond to that and how you move forward, and my dad was always a big stickler on how to act on the court and how to be positive …” 


Rene Chicoine, Gastonguay’s former high school coach, said Gastonguay’s induction is “well deserved.” 

“It was very easy (coaching Gastonguay),” Chicoine said. “He was already into tennis with his father. (He was) just an all-around good player and good guy. He was an exceptional guy. 

“Right now, he is the Bates College tennis coach and he is doing a good job there. They have an exceptional team because of Paul. He is just a great guy, a great player and a great coach. He has gone all the way, really. ” 

Gastonguay said Chicoine made it a great environment to learn the sport and instilled in him the desire to win. He also credits the Maine Tennis Association for opening other opportunities for him. 

“In Maine, we are so far away from all the junior circuit, and it would be big investment to travel to those events, so the Maine Tennis Association launching all these amazing tennis players while I was growing up — like I said, it was inspirational, but it was also an opportunity for me to compete against the best in the state, even when I was in high school. I was able to play in these men’s open events that were a huge part of my development.” 

For the past 26 years, Gastonguay has coached the Bates tennis team. His success as a coach can be measured by athletes who thrived from his experiences as a former tennis pro. 


He oversaw players like Ben Stein and Amrit Rupasinghe, who teamed up to win the NCAA men’s doubles national title in 2009. Gastonguay also coached Stein in the NCAA singles championship finals that year. In 2006, unseeded Will Boe-Wiegaard went from being unseeded to winning the NCAA Division III men’s singles.

Gastonguay, a twice-honored NESCAC Coach of the Year, was responsible for the Bates men’s team’s dominance, starting in 2000, as it qualified for the NCAA championships over a seven-year stretch.

He began coaching the Bates women’s team, as well, in 2001. In 2010, the Bobcats reached double digits in wins, going 10-6, for the first time since 1987. Two years later, doubles duo Meg Anderson and Elena Mandzhukova became the first Bates women’s players to compete in the NCAA Division III tournament.

Before Gastonguay made his mark as the Bates coach, he was a stellar player for the Bobcats. He graduated from Bates College in 1989 as the program’s winningest player, finishing his four-year collegiate career with a combined record of 141-49.

During his senior year, he was named All-America and was a finalist for the Arthur Ashe Award.

As a professional tennis player, Gastonguay competed in tour events for the International Tennis Federation Satellite, Challenger and ATP venues. His success as a pro earned him world rankings as a singles and doubles player and, at the tail end of his pro career, opened an opportunity to become a practice partner for top-ranked Ivan Lendl. 

“Who knows, I might have gone a different route if I hadn’t grown up playing tennis in Maine, where I wasn’t really exposed (to the sport) and wasn’t really recruited because I didn’t play the junior circuit,” Gastonguay said. “So Bates ended up being an amazing fit … it opened up a lot of doors for me.”

Gastonguay was inducted into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. His daughters, Caroline and Charlotte, play lacrosse at Rollins College in Florida, and his wife, Leslie Klenk, coached the St. Dominic Academy girls lacrosse team to the 2019 Class C state championship.

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