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After a 12-year hiatus, Hillsdale will finally rein­troduce a men’s tennis team to campus. The team will offi­cially begin playing in the fall of next year.

Head coach Keith Turner is in charge of the res­ur­rection of the program and is cur­rently in the process of recruiting the eight to 12 players needed for the team.

To scout players, Turner will travel to high school tennis tour­na­ments throughout Michigan, and he will research on web­sites and data­bases to contact players nationally.

The men’s tennis team was can­celled after the 2002 season due to few practice options during the winter months.

“[The] college admin­is­tration deter­mines when a varsity sport is added based on the con­tri­bution it is expected to make to the college,” Director of Ath­letics Don Brubacher explained. “It was decided the time was right a few years ago to add women’s tennis and that now is the right time to add men’s tennis. The plans to build the Biermann Center, which pro­vides indoor practice space for tennis, played into the decision to add women’s tennis. The impending con­struction of the new outdoor courts was sig­nif­icant in the decision to add men’s tennis.”

Although the team will not offi­cially start playing matches until next year, Turner explained in a mass email to stu­dents that depending on the interest, he may con­sider sched­uling prac­tices this fall and spring with a couple of scrim­mages later in the year. The coach also added that tryouts could start as early as in the next two weeks.

Turner has 36 years of tennis expe­rience and comes to Hillsdale after two years of coaching at Albion College.

Under Turner’s instruction, both the men’s and women’s tennis teams at Albion earned the highest overall grade point averages out of all tennis teams in the Michigan Inter­col­le­giate Ath­letic Asso­ci­ation (MIAA) in 2013.

Turner expressed the impor­tance of the aca­d­emics of his players, saying, “Things I’m looking for at Hillsdale is first off, [the players] have to be very good in the classroom. Aca­d­emics come first. At the same time, they need to be driven to succeed on the tennis court and the classroom, [have] good atti­tudes [and be] respectful to everyone- coaches, players, opposing coaches, offi­cials.”

Turner feels for­tunate to be working at Hillsdale, where his brother Stacy grad­uated in 1992, because he can focus on just the men’s team in con­trast to Albion, where he coached both men’s and women’s tennis.

“It’s a hard job to coach both teams. [Now,] I’m not spread as thin,” Turner said.

Before coaching at Albion, Turner served as the head tennis coach at Lime­stone College in South Car­olina, where he guided the team to NCAA Division II tour­nament appear­ances in 2009 and 2010. He also earned Coach of the Year honors at the 2010 Con­ference Car­olina.

Although winning is an important part of any sport, Turner admits that his favorite part of coaching is “seeing the devel­opment of the kids over the year, [and their] growth on the tennis court, in class, [and after they] graduate.”

Turner fondly remembers his own years in playing tennis for Boston Uni­versity and then Western Michigan Uni­versity, calling them “the four most enjoyable years of my life.”

Freshman Dugan Delp, who has been playing tennis since before the age of seven, is inter­ested in the new program.

“I am thrilled that Hillsdale is reviving the men’s tennis program,” Delp said. “I think adding a men’s tennis team back to campus will benefit the college in many ways. Espe­cially as we begin this team, players who are already on campus will get involved and try out. Addi­tionally, having a men’s tennis team will attract new stu­dents and faces to Hillsdale. I hope stu­dents will enjoy attending men’s tennis matches and cheering for the team when we begin our matches.”

Freshman Sam Adamson is also inter­ested in par­tic­i­pating on the tennis team.

“I think it’s very exciting to be part of a prac­ti­cally new tennis team. As one of the first members, I hope to play a big role in devel­oping healthy team culture and team tra­di­tions,” Adamson said.

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble