He found success as both a tennis player and a young coach at Columbia before making his way to a career in business. And Howard Endelman has never lost his love and passion for his alma mater and the Lion tennis program.
When Howard Endelman became the head coach of Columbia women's tennis in 1989, he was 24 years old, the youngest active head coach in any college Division I sport.
Not far removed from his own Columbia graduation in 1987, he had spent the intervening years as a professional tennis player. Ranked as high as 183 in the world in doubles, Endelman won a bronze medal at the Maccabiah Gemes.
Among the players he coached at his alma mater was fellow Ivy@50 profilee Pia Clemente, who he described as "an incredible competitor. She just fought like mad in every match." Endelman was able to lead his young team to its greatest heights before moving on to Boston College for law school in 1992.
During his own time at Columbia, Endelman was clearly a standout as well. A two-time captain, he was three-time first-team All-Ivy in doubles and was a member of two Ivy League championship teams. He found that the most memorable moment of his Ivy career came as a freshman year when his Lions defeated Princeton for the Ivy championship. He recalls, "We were down 4-2 after singles and swept the doubles matches."
He is occasionally reminded of the moment when "I still have Columbia alumni come up to me and say that match was the most exciting athletic event they have ever experienced."
As a Long Islander, Endelman knew about Columbia. He initially started playing tennis at eight, and began taking it seriously around the age of 13. As he says, "I grew up with Patrick McEnroe and we were doubles partners in junior tennis. After that, tennis became a part of my everyday life."
At a tournament during his senior year at Roslyn High School he met new Columbia coach Bid Goswami who told him "he wanted to build an Ivy League champion program." Quite a goal since Columbia hadn't won the title in more than a decade.
Endelman became a member of Goswami's first recruiting class, and credits the coach with having a tremendous impact on his life. He said, "Bid has - and continues to be - a mentor to me in every aspect of my life. Bid taught me how a coach can have a huge impact on a young person's life. He gave me the tools to be successful in any kind of situation after Columbia."
In addition to his success with the team, Endelman enjoyed all aspects of his Columbia experience. In his words, "I came from a high school where people were all the same and I thought that Long Island was all there was in the world. At Columbia there was such a diverse group of people from all over the wotld. It was an international school in a melting pot city. I love the place."
He also feels that his Columbia education prepared him well for real life. He proudly states "Columbia is special because it makes its students be independent and tough." It also made him part of a useful network, "It seems that everywhere I go in business, I always run into an Ivy League athlete." Even his professional doubles partners were from Ivy League schools - Peter Palandjian of Harvard and John Sobel of Penn.
After law school, Endelman worked on corporate securities law for three years and then moved to Merrill Lynch to do investment banking. Seven years after starting at Merrill Lynch, Endelman left to focus on a number of other ventures. He joined Jim Courier, who started a senior tennis tour. He owns a business services firm, and is involved in starting a venture capital/private equity firm called Baseline Partners. In addition he coaches some New York junior tennis players.
With his varying ventures, it's surprising to discover that Endelman feels coaching the women's tennis team at Columbia has been "the most fun I have had in a job so far."
Thus it is no surprise that Endelman was a finalist for the position of AD at Columbia. According to him, It was "a position in which I could succeed." When asked about his plans, Endelman described his dreams for the future, "I hope Bid coaches for another 25 years, then maybe I can take over for him if I can still run."
— Suzanne Eschenbach