North Dakota Tennis To Usher In New Era Next Year
UND Tennis head coach Tom Wynne will retire after next season marking 30 years at the helm
GRAND FORKS, ND – 29 years: that’s how long Tom Wynne has been at the helm of the U.N.D. tennis program.
“I grew up in grand forks for the most part so my dad worked at the university and I got started playing tennis late so I actually ended up playing tennis at the university of North Dakota,” Wynne said.
Wynne graduated in 1978 with a degree in journalism, always having an affinity for sports and writing. But in the end, the court came first.
“I said at the time, ‘I want to work at one of these indoor tennis centers that are popping up around american,'” Wynne said.
Two years after graduating, he played professionally at the Marlboro Tour in France. Not long after that, the North Dakota kid returned home with no plans to give up the game he loved.
“The next summer I had my best year ever, I beat some of the best players in the tri-state,” Wynne said. I’m improving playing these guys as much as I was playing these better players.
The theme of local success stuck with Wynne. He took over the reigns as coach in 1986 and from there, won three North Central Conference titles and made seven straight postseason appearances when the program was division 2. Fast forward to 2017, four years new to the big sky conference, his Fighting Hawks finish 7th in the conference championships. Last year, both programs reach milestones: the men round out the season with 11 wins while the women finish second in the Summit League tournament.
“Winning becomes a state of mind,” Wynne said. I go into a match looking for ways to win rather than ‘oh here we go again’ and getting a beat down.
The last few years that’s become a steady reality for Wynne’s teams but it’s not the only thought that’s taken center stage. To him, the drive to capitalize is most praiseworthy.
If I’m proud of anything, it’s the idea that I never really mailed it in as far as my efforts,” Wynne said. “When I go out on the tennis, I’m always trying to help someone. I’m not in a situation where I’m going through motions.”
When the book closes next season, the veteran wants to pass the baton to one man.
“I really think my associate head coach right now is a fellow by the name of Kyle Anderson and he’s real passionate about it and really good at it,” Wynne said.
“We both have a tremendous amount of respect for one another,” Anderson said. “It’s been amazing working with him especially how far we’ve come from the transition to division one to getting a few more scholarships.”
“There’s an article in a local magazine that said he’s been the coach for 29 years and that was last year,” Wynne said. “And I was reading it and said, ‘oh I’ll make it 30 then.’ That’s the reason why I picked this year to say that’s why I’m going to move on.”
Wynne mentioned he’ll be staying in Grand Forks with the possibility of spending winters down south, certainly the not the first north Dakotan to have that thought.