Charles Lai returned to his alma mater as the head men's tennis coach, after producing one of the most successful tennis careers in UMass Boston history. He took over the UMass Boston men's and women's tennis programs in February 2019, after serving as an interim coach late in the fall season of 2018.
Lai guided the Beacons to one of their best seasons in program history in his first year at the helm. After a 1-3 start, the Beacons closed the regular season with wins in 10 of their final 12 matches, including a nine-match winning streak against Division III competition. The Beacons dominated the entire Little East Conference, posting their third-ever undefeated conference record (7-0) and a perfect 21-0 mark in double play. In the LEC Tournament, UMass Boston swept rival #4 UMass Dartmouth and then avenged their loss in the 2018 LEC Championship Match with a 5-0 sweep over #2 Salem State University. The Beacons ended the year with their third-trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history.
Prior to taking over as the head coach of the Beacons, Lai worked as an assistant coach for both programs during the 2015-16 season and the fall of the 2016-17 season. During the 2016 season, Lai helped guide the men's team back to the LEC Championship Match, after UMass Boston upset rival UMass Dartmouth in the LEC Semifinals.
Lai also worked with UMass Boston student-athletes as an Athletic Academic Assistant Advisor, working to help student-athletes on a one-on-one basis.
The Boston, Mass. native set new career program records with 97 total wins, 50 doubles victories and 143 total matches played. Over the course of his four seasons, Lai earned First Team All-Conference honors on six occasions and was named All-Conference in singles and doubles in every season he played. Lai captained the Beacons for his final three seasons and led UMass Boston to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013.
In addition to his accolades on the court, Lai also served as the UMass Boston Student Athlete Advisory Committe (SAAC) President during his senior year. He also founded the Athletes Intervarsity group at UMass Boston, that worked to provide a community for student-athletes that were interested in exploring their faith.
During his summers, Lai worked as an Assistant Tennis Director with the Eastern Yacht Club in Marblehead (2014) and the Wayland Swim & Tennis Club (2015).
Lai graduated from UMass Boston in 2015 with a Bachelors of Science in Communication.