Texas Wesleyan’s men’s tennis team will begin playing in the fall of 2017, Athletic Director Steven Trachier said.
Angel Martinez, the head women’s tennis coach, will also coach the men’s team next fall, Trachier said.
“We are hiring an assistant coach to help him with the program as numbers increase, and that kind of stuff,” Trachier said.
The men’s program should be an easy addition because there is already a coach, a facility, and a budget in place, Trachier said.
Wesleyan’s women’s tennis team began playing in the fall of 2015 after a 13-year hiatus, according to ramsports.net. Martinez was named the 2015-2016 United States Professional Tennis Association Texas College Coach of the Year.
“Coach Martinez signed his first recruit [Mace Brasher] a few days ago, who is actually the brother of one of his current players,” Trachier said. “That’s the first recruit and he’s been talking to many more. It should build pretty quickly.”
Tennis is a fall and spring sport but the championship events occur in the spring, he said.
“You play your regional tournament, and if you qualify you go to nationals in the spring, but they’ll be competing in the fall against other colleges,” Trachier said.
The tennis facility, Arlington Tennis Center, has enough courts for the men and women to practice at the same time, he said.
“Right now, we are in an unaffiliated grouping,” Trachier said. “Basically, in the Sooner Athletic Conference there aren’t enough teams that play tennis to have a tennis conference, so we co-op with two other athletic conferences to form what is called an unaffiliated group, and that’s what we’ll play in.”
The new men’s team will be able to advance in the NAIA quickly since the area around Wesleyan has a lot of good high school tennis programs, he said.
“That demographic, historically, are good students. They’re good in the classroom. I think that it will help us academically and athletically,” Trachier said.
More opportunities available to continue athletics at Wesleyan should help the university academically as well, he said.
“I like it when our athletic teams are growing at a time when the university is growing. It’ll help our retention,” Trachier said.
It’s a great thing to have a men’s team as well as a women’s team because the teams can cheer each other on, tennis player Loli Garcia said.
“It’s good for the school when recruiting new players. The men’s tennis team will make us more well-known, it will make it easier for us to bring new people to the school,” Garcia, a senior business management major said.
The two teams can help encourage one another by being loud at matches and motivating one another, she said.
“I might not be here playing then, but I am excited,” Garcia said. “I’m excited to see how everything is going to be.”
Wesleyan tennis player Maggie Brasher, the sister of Mace Brasher, the men’s team’s first recruit, said her brother is “a great player and a great kid.”
A new program allows players that might not have had the chance to play college tennis elsewhere a chance to continue their tennis careers, she said.
“I think that he just wanted to be close to home,” she said of Mace. “ That’s a good advantage of having a small team or small school that is close to where we live.”
The siblings’ relationship is very close and may have played a factor in where Mace chose to go to college, she said.
“I don’t like to say that I played a factor, but we’re really close, so I think that it may have helped us to go to the same school together,” she said.
It’s a unique opportunity to be a player on a new team because it’s an opportunity to create a name for the program, she said.
“Well, since I was the first signing for the women’s tennis team,” Brasher said. “I told him that it was not always a bad thing to start fresh from a team that has nothing.”
Brasher was surprised to hear that the university was adding a men’s team because at the time of her signing it didn’t seem like a possibility.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for anyone. It’ll be fun,” she said. “It’ll make the women’s team more dynamic, it’ll be fun to have a good mix of guys and girls.”
The addition of men’s tennis, football, and lacrosse should help make the school more visible, she said.
“It’s going to be a good learning experience for everyone,” she said.