New SMSU Women’s Tennis Coach Hopes to Help the Team Bounce Back

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New SMSU Women’s Tennis Coach Hopes to Help the Team Bounce Back

Sam Gerber, Staff Writer

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Just like opening a new can of Wilson tennis balls, SMSU women’s tennis is experiencing yet another fresh start through their new head coach, Jon Parker. Parker was announced as the 10th head coach in SMSU women’s tennis history, replacing former head coach Andrew Cobb, who resigned last April after a 13-12 campaign. Parker has 20 years of experience with collegiate and high school coaching. His most recent college coaching endeavor was from 2016 to 2018 at Northeastern State in Oklahoma, where he led the Riverhawks to a 39-10 record.

When asked why SMSU was the right fit for him, Parker said, “I felt that it was the right time to get back into the college game, and I felt like SMSU was right for me. The process of starting a program fresh from the ground-up was also an enticing opportunity for Parker. “I would like to help the program rebuild,” he said. “Helping programs rebuild– that’s something near and dear to me.”

A rebuild is something that is projected for the SMSU tennis program, as they were picked to finish 11th out of 12 in the Northern Sun intercollegiate conference as voted on by the coaches of the league.

Despite seeing his last college coaching in Oklahoma, Parker isn’t coming in completely unfamiliar with NSIC play. “I have had some experience with Augustana; I understand they are the big dog in the conference,” he said. Parker previously ran into them during playoffs at Northeastern.

When asked about composing a team roster, Parker said he plans to carry six players, five of who are upperclassmen. Experience is something that will benefit both the players and coaching staff alike. “Our goal with recruiting the next couple of years is to be a competitive team,” Parker said.

He is scouting players from Argentina and Texas. The geographical differences between the locations in relation to SMSU are less challenging than in previous years because of modern-day technological advances. “The internet has changed the way you can stay in touch with players,” Parker said. “I haven’t ruled out looking at local players.”

Parker encourages fans to come out and support the tennis team. “Feel free, fans, to come and support us even though we don’t have a ton of home meets,” he said. “Students are welcome to tennis instruction and to learn more about the game.” The Parker era begins on February eighth in Fargo, North Dakota against the University of St. Mary at 3pm.