MU
Oak Leaves

March 2, 2018


Dr. Hoffman Named Interim Tennis Coach 


Kaity Collins 

The Manchester University tennis team is taking charge of the upcoming spring season and is ready to show the competition their flexibility and teamwork. Currently without a coach, the team has had to showcase their independence and rely on one another while training and competing. “We have our first match this upcoming Sunday against Alma College,” said senior Spencer Thomas. “After that, we have a stretch until after spring break, then our schedule becomes very busy.” The spring season started Feb. 25 with a 2 p.m. match against Alma College in Warsaw, Ind.

Dr. Wendy Hoffman, assistant professor of marketing and management, very recently filled the position as interim head coach for the tennis teams. Eric Christiansen was the part-time tennis coach, but the players had been operating without a coach until Hoffman stepped in.

“The team is pretty much player-led,” junior Connor Eichenauer said. “I think we've done a great job so far, from a tennis standpoint.”

The players respect all the years of coaching they received from Christiansen. “He’s a fantastic guy who has been coaching at Manchester University for more than ten years,” said Thomas. “We all really appreciate the effort he put into coaching our team.”

Rick Espeset, athletic director, and Erin Foreman of Exercise and Sport Sciences had been posting advertisements to fill the coaching position, but first, they had been searching for a Manchester employee to take up the task temporarily, leading to Hoffman’s position as interim head coach.

“The athletic department has been pretty helpful,” first-year Isaac Miller said. “Both the department and team gets to voice their opinions and concerns.”

Eichenauer said: “The four seniors on the team help a lot. But it is still a high priority of the athletic department.”

The players do have concerns about what will happen to the team from a long-term standpoint, due to the uncertainty of a permanent coach. “It’s a scary thought,” said senior Isaac Collis. “But without a coach, they probably won’t keep us around.”

Previous to Hoffman’s acceptance of the temporary position, players remained positive about the state of their team.

Thomas said: “I am confident that we will find a replacement for our spring season. But hopefully the individual who steps in can permanently fill the job, or a coach will be found by the time fall season rolls around for the women's team.”

“The team may be in a tough situation, but all were optimistic that conditions would become favorable in the near future,” Eichenhauer said. “It hasn’t really affected us that much, even though practice started in February.”

Collis added: “We’re managing pretty well on our own. We kind of just practice away.”

Thomas offered a philosophical perspective, previous to Hoffman stepping in to coach: “It’s obviously tough to lose a coach so close to season,” he said. “But we are adjusting accordingly and working hard to earn a competitive spot in the conference tournament this season.”

The tennis team is currently practicing and conditioning at the indoor courts in Warsaw 2–3 times a week to prepare for upcoming matches. The team holds a deep fondness for their sport and a strong sense of camaraderie for the team. “Overall, we are confident as a team that we will pull together and have a great season; we have some promising talent that is going to really help us compete and get some wins,” Thomas said. “As for our former coach, Eric Christiansen, he was a great role model to us all and truly made our team fun to be a part of."