Jan. 3, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. –
In recent years, most of the attention given to the Florida State University men’s tennis team has come for its effort on the court, particularly those of two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Mat Cloer. But as the Seminole prepare to open their dual match season, they are be lauded for their performances outside of tennis.
The fall semester was strong for the men’s tennis team in two areas, posting the highest grade point average for the male sports and topping all Florida State squads in community service hours per student-athlete.
Along with the play of the team on the court, one area head coach Dwayne Hultquist has been working hard to improve is the Seminoles performance in the classroom. Last season Florida State had its first men’s tennis player on the ACC Honor Roll in two seasons, but this year there may be a few more on that list.
Led by Stefan Shaw’s (Bristol, England) team-high 3.75 grade point average, the tennis squad has the best GPA of all the male sports at Florida State in the fall. Last semester, the Seminoles posted a team GPA of just over 3.0 with five student-athletes posting a GPA of 3.0 or better. Joining Shaw on that list is Chip Webb (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Jeff Groslimond (Atlanta, Ga.), Chris Westerhof (Durban, South Africa) and Sam Chang (Young-Ming, Taiwan).
“We’re real pleased with the how well our guys did academically last semester,” Hultquist said. “Three or four of our guys had their best semesters since they’ve been in school and given the size of our roster, to have five guys over a 3.0 says a lot. I’ve always believed that doing well in the classroom lends itself to being successful on the court and hopefully our guys take advantage of that.”
During Hultquist’s five seasons he has had 11 student-athletes earn 17 ACC Honor Roll accolades. The coaching staff knows first-hand how academic success can translate onto the court. Assistant coach Nick Crowell was a Big 12 Conference Commissioners’ Honor Roll recipient and an All-American at Texas. While Hultquist was an assistant at UT, all but one of the Longhorns graduated.
With over 100 hours of community service work last semester, the men’s tennis team averaged 12.7 hours per student athlete. That number puts them four hours per student-athlete ahead of men’s track and field with softball ranking third.
Most of the Seminoles work in the community has been with tennis lessons for home-school students. The program allows those students who do not get the normal physical education classes taught in school the opportunity to exercise and get outside. Hultquist’s squad also visited a hospital in Miami, hit with the Golden Boys at Forestmeadows and hosted a Community Day with the women’s team.
“We wanted to do something and give back to the community that supports not just us, but all of Florida State,” Hultquist added. “We did a lot with the kids in the area and during the community day and some of the kids in the clinics really connected with our guys and you can see the affect it has on them. I think our guys may get more out of it than the kids.”
Florida State hopes the success in the fall will carry over when it takes the court next week. The Seminoles open the 2005 dual match season at Hawai’i on January 13. FSU opens its home schedule at the Scott Speicher Center on January 22 against Jacksonville at 1 p.m.