|Years at VC:||1st Year|
|Bachelor's Degree:||A.A. Ventura College, 1986|
|Master's Degree:||B.A., Oregon State University, 1990|
While Tara McLean-Emery enters her first year in an official capacity as the assistant coach for VC women's tennis, she has led the pre- and in-season conditioning program for last three years.
Tara began her athletic career at Buena High School as a basketball player, where she was an All-CIF and first team All-SoCal player. In 1983 and 1984 she helped the Bulldogs win back-to-back state championships. From there, Tara entered Ventura College and played two years for the Pirates under head coach Charlie Dunn. In those two years, tana was named team Most Valuable Player, first team All-Western State Conference, WSC Player of the Year, All-SoCal, and first team All-State. SHe was also selected as the Ventura College Female Athlete of the Year as a sophomore. She received an athletic scholarship to Oregon State University and graduated in 1990 with a degree in Liberal Studies. In 1994, Tara earned an MS degree in Education from Azusa Pacific University. She continued playing basketball and in 1996, was selected as one of the top 500 female basketball players from the U.S. to tryout for the American Professional Basketball League (ABL) in Atlanta, Ga. In 2006, Tara was inducted into the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame.
In 1995, Tara came to Ventura College as a kinesiology instructor and assistant coach for the women's basketball team. In the six years as assistant, Tara helped lead the Pirates to four CCCAA state titles (1996, 1997, 2000, 2001) while making two more state championship game appearances in 1998 and 1999. In 2017, the 1996 and 1997 state championship teams were inducted into the Ventura College Athletic Hall of Fame.
For the past 23 years Tara has taught a variety of classes in the Kinesiology Department at VC, including Aerobic and Strength Training, Walking to Restore Fitness, Basketball, Beginning and Intermediate Tennis, First Aid CPR for the Professional, as well as Health and Stress Management classes.
In the early 1990’s Tara began to include tennis into her arsenal with the coaching guidance of her husband and VC tennis coach Nelson Emery. She began to play tennis year round, playing in tournaments and USTA 4.5 leagues, many times reaching the So Cal Regional Playoffs. For three straight years, Tara was crowned the Ventura County Women’s Open Singles Champion in 2003, 2004, and 2005. In 2006, with the encouragement of Nelson Emery and Ventura College Women’s tennis Coach Bob Holycross, Tara decided to play for the Pirates' women’s tennis team. Tara had a singles record of 16-7 in the No. 1 spot and was named second team All-WSC, and advanced to the semifinals of the WSC Singles Tournament. She also advanced to the WSC Doubles Finals. The team won the conference championship with a season record of 13-2. Tara was ranked No. 13 in the State of California.
Tara has coached many tennis camps and clinics for all ages throughout Ventura. She also trains tennis players for elite fitness and strength training and has guided many athletes to perform at their best level of fitness for the next level of competition. She also conditions the men’s and women’s tennis teams through all facets of fitness to prepare them for the upcoming season.
Through the years, Tara and Nelson have guided and coached their three children through all the stages of different sports, but most notably, competitive tennis. All three are highly ranked in SoCal, and have reached high honors in national tournaments. Their oldest daughter is playing her first year at Cal State University Fullerton, where she received a full scholarship. Their middle daughter is a four-star athlete and is now being highly recruited, and their son who is a five-star athlete, has won numerous national titles.