Local tennis coach Nabil Tadros serves up the priceless value of mentorship…

  • December 06, 2022

CAO’s Empowering Stories from Behind the Bench – December 2022

I see the big reward of being able to coach and watch others grow with experience and confidence. That means a great deal to me.”

By David Grossman

There is something about the desirable attributes of an individual that can leave a lasting positive impression.

When the name Nabil Tadros is mentioned, integrity also enters the picture. Same for professionalism, and being a guy with just a genuine enthusiastic approach to making things better for so many.

Coaching can be a revelation for some, but it has been a huge part in the life of Tadros.

Cultivating the growth of the sport, at the amateur level, with personal advice, knowledge, and experience, has been his life for some 40 years – and he shows no sign of stopping.

As a youngster growing up in Egypt until he, and his family, moved to Canada in 1964, Tadros had his limitations in the world of sport. It was at the age of five, while watching his parents play tennis, that he took a liking to a sport that requires hitting a ball over a net with a racquet.

Sounds easy, but often it’s not. There’s a technique that involves a combination of agility, mental fortitude, strength and, yes, a strategy. Okay, some luck, too.

For Tadros, enthusiasm grew – and so did the fun of hitting a small white table tennis ball against his bedroom wall. Oh, yes, there was the time, when his shot went a bit astray and he knocked over a picture that shattered the glass frame.

The admiration for sport would skyrocket during his grade 8 year at St. Timothy Catholic School in Toronto. Tadros, enthusiastically, says it has to do with two key people, and points to physical education teachers Don Bannon and John Herman.

“I was influenced by some great coaches over the years, but I truly hit the jackpot with (Herman and Bannon),” recalled Tadros. “The encouragement and support they gave me is something I will never forget. Looking back, I believe they played a big part in my decision to go on and teach and coach.”

Tadros didn’t waste any time learning to play a variety of sports – and did well in some more than others.

Attending Brebeuf College, an all-boys Catholic high school, Tadros would compete for medals in various under-18 Singles tennis tournaments. On the hardwood, he was also a City of Toronto basketball all-star. At the community level, Tadros was selected as the Most Valuable Player in boys’ soccer with the Don Valley Village Association.

“It was such a great feeling knowing that I was involved in so many sports, had so much fun and learned a great deal about sportsmanship, teamwork and respect for others,” said Tadros, who would move on to study physical education at the University of Toronto.

There was a time, Tadros admits, when teaching wasn’t in his plans.

For some reason, he was tinkering with an administrative government job in parks and recreation. That didn’t work. Tadros got the hint that his leadership role in a classroom and gym would take over.

“At U of T, I was getting a great education and also played tennis and basketball – it was the best of both worlds,” added Tadros, who would be on a 1980 team that won the Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) championship.

“All the while, I knew what coaches had done for me and I just wanted to do the same for others who would get the same enjoyment and satisfaction that I have had.”

As a graduate of the Toronto Teacher’s College and then enhancing his education with a Master’s degree from Niagara University, Tadros would incorporate a 30-year teaching career with thousands of hours of coaching.

To be exact, he’s coached tennis at the University of Toronto for 38 years. Toss in many years of voluntary coaching at the high school level.

The Coaches Association of Ontario series, “Empowering Stories from behind the Bench”, continues to put the spotlight on individuals – like Tadros – who merge excellence in teaching with the strong coaching fundamentals of improvement, guidance, and training.

It wasn’t until his sixth year of teaching high school that Tadros got the message – one that made him understand how he could engage and inspire student athletes.

“It hit me, it all made sense and I saw that coaching really was a good thing for young people,” said Tadros. “There are always ways, outside of the formal classroom, that can become huge for teaching and helping people learn social skills – and doing it through sports is fabulous.”

While some recent statistics show the average Ontario coach impacts more than 350 athletes over a coaching lifetime, Tadros has exceeded this number – and by far.

When asked to talk about his accomplishments and awards, Tadros likes to be low key.

“It’s nice to be recognized, I’m getting older and really appreciate everything,” he said. “It’s an honor, but I see the big reward being that of being able to coach and watch others grow with experience and confidence. That means a great deal to me.”

From student and athlete at U of T (basketball from 1978 to 1981 and tennis from 1980 to 1981), Tadros was appointed head coach of tennis in 1984. He may very well be one of the top coaches in university tennis in Canada after his men’s and women’s teams won an incredible combined 18 Ontario university championships.

Tadros has been recognized for his contribution to athletics as a recipient of a University of Toronto Arbor Award, the Toronto Raptors/Ontario Basketball Association Coaches Recognition citation, Ontario high school coaching recognition, and as a six-time Ontario University Coach of the Year. He was also inducted to the University of Toronto Sports Hall of Fame.

Now retired from teaching, when he’s away from coaching sports, Tadros continues to look for ways to help others. He’s made several trips back to Egypt, and often had sports teams with him, with suitcases full of items to donate to others in need.

“I understand that times are tough, and in so many ways, for lots of people,” he said. “As a youngster, I will never forget receiving two special trophies from the Don Valley Village Association for being an MVP in tennis and soccer. “That meant a great deal to me, but so does coaching and seeing the smiles and enjoyment as well as getting the satisfaction of giving sports equipment, toys and clothing to people in need.”


There are always ways, outside of the formal classroom, that can become huge for teaching and helping people learn social skills – and doing it through sports is fabulous.

David Grossman is a veteran multi award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 45+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.