Most would agree that being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. But for one woman, that job gets carried out onto the tennis court as well. For Bette-Ann Liguori, being a parent and a coach has intertwined ever since her daughter Dominique pursued her lifelong sport of tennis. In 2003, Bette-Ann was inducted into the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame, and she just completed her sixth season as the Women’s Tennis head coach. For the first time in Fordham history, Dominique Damian has accompanied her mother in being a member of the Fordham Athletic Hall of Fame. This is the only parent-child pairing to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
It’s no question that Bette-Ann’s tremendous success and passion for the game was passed down to her daughter – making it more of a family tradition. Dominique has proven herself to be one of the most prolific women’s tennis players at Fordham. She finished her senior year with a perfect 19-0 season record, an outstanding 57-4 career record, and joined her mother in winning the prestigious Hobbs Family Award given to Fordham’s Female Athlete of the Year.
Growing up with your mother as your head coach and constant support system, on and off the court, was not the simplest situation to be in for Dominique. But, as she matured as a top player throughout high school, she knew she wanted to uphold her mother’s legacy and create one of her own. “It was hard having a parent who knew the ins and outs of the sport you’re playing because it was difficult to separate her being my mom and my coach at the same time,” Dominique admitted. However, once she matured and began to understand the game better, she says it got easier once her mom gave her space to grow on her own. Once she was able to do this, Dominique began to take her mother’s advice over others because “in the end, she was the little voice in my head” at all times.
Their mother-daughter relationship expanded to an entirely new level as Dominique ended up leading her mother’s team at The Ursuline School (New Rochelle, NY) to a record-breaking 100-match winning streak. Dominique went on to follow in her mother’s footsteps and continue her tennis career as a fellow Fordham Ram. Through her innate sense of competitiveness, exceptional talent, and her mother’s support and advice constantly running through her head, Dominique has certainly created a legacy of her own at Fordham and beyond. Her and her mother’s athletic achievements at Fordham are unmatched, and they deserve an incredible amount of respects for being Fordham’s first mother-daughter, and parent-child, duo in the Athletic Hall of Fame. With hereditary athletic talent and intelligence like theirs, it will be no surprise to see future generations joining them as well.
Today, Dominique’s love for tennis remains just as prominent in her life, as she, like her mother, has made the transition from player to coach. She has said that she finds herself telling her kids the same advice that her mother had always told her, and even though sometimes she did not want it to, those words have been rooted deep into her brain. Bette-Ann’s lessons about life on and off the court are forever embedded in Dominique’s mind as she hopes she can continue to follow in her mother’s footsteps. With all of the deserved appreciation she has received after being inducted, Dominique feels, “I am lucky that my mom knew how to be a teacher after being a player all of her life, and I’m so proud this has all happened the way that it has.”