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UMD drops men's tennis program

Tuesday marked the end of an era at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After 51 years and 21 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships, UMD has suspended its men's varsity tennis program, beginning with the 2000 fall season.

Tuesday marked the end of an era at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. After 51 years and 21 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference championships, UMD has suspended its men's varsity tennis program, beginning with the 2000 fall season.
"So many NSIC teams have dropped men's tennis, that the NSIC is no longer sponsoring the sport," said UMD Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Bob Corran.
"It just came down to competition. Winona State was the only school left (from the NSIC) with men's tennis, which means that our options were to either play Division III or play Division II with a lot of travel, as an independent, leaving access to the NCAA tournament virtually impossible."
However, the team's head coach, Craig Gordon, a former Bulldog player who's currently serving as the professional at Longview Tennis Club, expressed frustration with the university's decision.
"As far as UMD tennis is concerned, our conference was boring to start with," he said. "It was such a minute part of our schedule, that it shouldn't have made one bit of difference."
The program's viability will, however, be reviewed regularly, leaving the door open for a possible reinstatement if sufficient NCAA competition were to develop in the future.
"The real disappointment is that this (current) group of athletes aren't going to be able to compete," said Corran.
Last season, the Bulldogs again claimed the NSIC crown, their 19th consecutive conference championship, largely on the strength of seniors Jeff Skubic and 1999 NSIC Player of the Year Josh Stokka, the only players on the roster who were receiving scholarships.
Skubic, a Virginia native, graduated following last season, and Stokka, who has yet to graduate, will still receive his partial scholarship this fall.
The program's estimated $20,000-plus budget will be redistributed throughout the university's athletic department.

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