This past July, Arianna Raga, a 2016 Newman University graduate, took the reins as head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Cowley College. Previously, she spent three seasons as an assistant coach to her brother, Manuel (Manny) Raga.
The coaching duo led the 2023 Tiger men’s tennis team to its first national championship in 32 years, while the 2023 Lady Tiger tennis team’s national runner-up finish was the best in program history.
Looking to future seasons, Raga hopes to maintain momentum and help both her teams secure a top finish at nationals.
“I truly love not only coaching tennis, but also making an impact on the kids and seeing them grow the two years they’re here with us, not only on the court but also as a person,” Raga said. “That’s what I love the most about coaching — being that person to guide and help them become better tennis players and people and helping them through their academic success as well.”
Before coaching, Raga played No. 3 singles and doubles for the Lady Tiger tennis team during the 2012 season, helping lift the team to a fourth-place national finish.
After spending a redshirt season at Cowley during the 2013 season, Raga went on to play three seasons at Newman, where she played No. 2 doubles, was a team captain, and was named a Heartland Conference Player of the Week recipient. She helped the Lady Jets achieve their highest national finish in the program’s history.
While a student at Newman, Raga majored in business. She also owned Brickhouse Grill in Bethany, Kansas, along with her brother.
Raga, who is from Venezuela, was just 23 at the time and said her family had always had a passion for cooking.
“My uncle owned a restaurant in Florida and my stepdad really likes cooking and my mom does too,” Raga said. “We pretty much cook all the time at home, so it was kind of something that we always wanted to do if we had the chance to get into the restaurant industry.”
Even though she juggled a full, hectic schedule while at Newman, Raga looks back at her experience with nothing but fondness. In fact, her dream job is to become the university’s head tennis coach someday.
“Newman was great,” she says. “I really loved Coach Shella (Augspurger), the school, the people, the school’s values. Everything. I love Newman.”
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