SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Once Simon Thibodeau convinced himself that it was all right to be gay, and then to be open about it in front of others, he gathered his women’s tennis team in May at theUniversity of California, Santa Barbara. The dozen players in the room wondered why their head coach was so nervous.
“I’m gay,” he finally said.
There was awkward silence, mostly stemming from surprise. One player applauded. The rest smiled, shrugged and wondered about the summer schedule.
“No one thought it was a big deal,” said Erica Cano, captain of last year’s team and now an assistant coach. “All this big buildup, then: ‘Oh. O.K.’ ”