When thinking of sports at Eastern University, the tennis program is most likely not the first to come to mind. Sports like volleyball, basketball and soccer are far more followed and watched at Eastern. Not to mention the football team that is coming next Fall. Many students at Eastern would be surprised to know how successful the tennis team was last year, particularly the men’s team. Had one set gone differently, they would have found themselves in the semifinals of the playoffs.
All but one of the players from last year are returning for the guy’s team. In addition to the returners, the Eagles will also be getting a player from their starting lineup back from injury. Assuming the boys have been practicing, one would think they might take a step up from last year. However, none of this matters if the tennis team does not have a season this year. After the resignation of head coach Mark Spangler, it is unclear whether the tennis teams will be able to play.
Coach Spangler’s resignation ends a nearly 15 year long stint as the Eagle’s head coach for both teams. Throughout that time Spangler was able to work with a variety of different players as well as lead several successful seasons. Fittingly, his last season ended with the men’s team making the MAC Commonwealth tournament and nearly making the semifinals.
There is a potential candidate for head coach, however this coach would not take over the tennis program until next season. There have been rumors about one of the athletic trainers serving as an interim head coach for this season but that is not confirmed. The women’s team is in the rebuilding phase right now but certainly has capable players that would benefit from being able to play matches this season.
The men’s team on the other hand has a very mature team. It would seem the time is now for a successful season and potentially another playoff appearance. Out of seven players on the men’s roster, five are seniors. After speaking with one of the players Bryan Levi, he is definitely eager to get someone to coach for this season and be able to play. When asked about the current situation, “The team is really eager to play and see what we can do. Most of us really enjoy the sport and have fun no matter the outcome, so hopefully we will have the opportunity to play this season,” Levi said.
Much is still to be determined about the tennis season this Spring. Questions regarding who will coach, when that process will happen and if there will be a season at all still remain. One thing that is certain is the fact that the men’s tennis team has the talent and is very capable of having another consecutive playoff run this year if given the chance.
Photo: EU Athletic Photography
Eastern tennis head coach Mark Spangler posing for a headshot.