Area Tennis: Rademacher takes over reins in Pierz

Briana Rademacher takes over for Sandy Tautges as the new head coach of the Pierz girls tennis program.

Briana Rademacher hits the ball after a serve Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at the Brainerd High School courts. Rademacher has been named the new Pierz girls tennis couch. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Briana Rademacher’s ascension to head coach didn’t take long.

The former Brainerd Warriors player and assistant coach was hired as the new head girls tennis coach for the Pierz Pioneers.

Rademacher will also be teaching physical education at Pierz as she takes over for former head coach and teacher Sandy Tautges, who is continuing her teaching career at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

“I’ll be out in the field working with students in their methods classes and student teaching and doing other classes,” Tautges said. “I’ll be teaching a coaching class and some health classes as well.

“Briana is going to have a real solid group. They’re so good mentally and hard workers. It’s a close, cohesive group. There are some younger athletes, but they are welcomed into the group. It’s just a good group of kids with positive attitudes.”


That’s the mental approach Rademacher hopes to employ at Pierz. She said she wants to build positive relationships with her players. To not only develop the athlete, but the person.

Rademacher has been a Brainerd assistant coach for the girls' program since 2017 and was an assistant for the boys' program this past spring. She said working with both teams was a benefit.

“It benefited me the most because of the relationships you build with the kids,” Rademacher said. “Also the competitiveness. I’m a very competitive person so working that even more so with the boys. They really grab onto that, but again, the main thing is the relationships are the same. You want to push athletes and build that relationship with them.”

Rademacher turned to tennis later than most as she started with friends in sixth grade. She quickly fell for the sport and developed into a talented player for the Warriors, even helping Brainerd to its first Class 2A state tournament appearance. The Warriors and Rademacher went to state two more times.

After graduating high school, Rademacher played tennis for the University of Minnesota, Duluth. That’s where she earned her physical education and health degree. She returned to Brainerd and became an assistant coach under head girls coach Lisa Salo and head boys coach Ellen Fussy.

“We’re sad to see her go,” Salo said. “We worked so well together. But I’m very excited for Briana. I think this is a great opportunity. She’ll step right into that Pierz program and make a significant impact on Day One.

“She’s definitely ready for a head coaching position. She’s reliable, flexible and knowledgeable certainly, and competitive. She’s also fun to coach with. We enjoyed coaching with Briana, It was just fun to be around her. I spent a lot of time with her talking tennis and going to coaching clinics. She’s been one who has been wanting to grow her skills.”

Rademacher is excited to build her own cohesive coaching staff. She already has a good working relationship with them.


“I was very fortunate to have a couple of staff members who reached out and asked if they could continue on with the staff,” Rademacher said. “They are Pierz alumni and they’ve been working with the Pierz tennis program for a while and I met with all of them and we already have a good thing going. They’re excited to hear about new ideas and I’m here to learn from them as well. I think it’s going to be awesome.”

Along with being an assistant tennis coach, Rademacher is the co-director of Brainerd's summer tennis programs. This season, Brainerd is hosting two match-play weeks at Brainerd High School. The first was at the end of June. The next one will be at the end of July. Competitors from across the state competed in June and the numbers for July have already doubled.

Rademacher also volunteers with the United States Tennis Association and currently serves on the Board Scholarship Committee.

“Lisa Salo has been an awesome mentor for me for a long time,” Rademacher said. “I grew up playing with her daughter and as a team, we grew up playing together. I just fell in love with the game and having that passion for the game when I was younger, it just continued to grow.

“Tennis is very mentally challenging. Tennis is just as much of a mental game as it is a physical game. The will to continue on is something that is a strength of mine, I would say. I love the battle of each point and going after each ball. It’s really the battle that I love the most.”

While she loves the battle she cherishes the relationships built through tennis. It’s those bonds that she remembers the most from her high school and college years.

“I was fortunate enough to be coached by some amazing coaches growing up in the Brainerd program,” Rademacher said. “Then transitioning into a coach and working alongside them as a co-coaches and gosh, since I was in high school this was always something I wanted to do. Some of my favorite memories were on those tennis teams so I wanted to continue that and build those relationships with those kids is something that is special to me.”

Rademacher said she already feels a part of the Pierz community. She’s heard from a number of community members welcoming her to Pierz and wishing her good luck.


“Our season hasn’t officially started, but I’ve felt so welcomed and I’m very excited to be a part of the Pioneers and their school,” Rademacher said. “I’m fully invested in that and I’m excited to be a part of their culture.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at
Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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