First year Hope College men’s tennis coach Adam Ford is bringing to the Flying Dutchmen the same expectations he was given in juniors as a player.
Start with 100 percent and 100 percent energy, whether it be in practice or during a match.
“My coach in juniors was Jorge Capestany,” Ford said, referring to the nationally recognized coach DeWitt Tennis Center manager at Hope. “He told me, ‘If you’re going to have a good day, the effort and energy have to be to be there.’ Nobody is talented enough to go out there and win with 10 or 15 percent effort.
“If you give 100 percent effort and 100 percent energy, good things are going to happen. We’ll let the results come from there.”
Ford and the Flying Dutchmen open the 2016 season today with a 4 p.m. nonleague match against Aquinas at DeWitt Tennis Center.
It is the first of 20 regular-season matches for Hope and the first of 12 on campus at either DeWitt Tennis Center or the VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts.
Ford is the Flying Dutchmen’s 11th head coach. He also coaches the Hope women’s tennis team.
Former Flying Dutchmen standout Bob Cawood is assisting Ford with both the men’s and women’s teams.
As a senior, Cawood went undefeated in league dual matches (6-0) and posted an overall 21-4 record in Hope's 2013 MIAA championship season. He was named the MIAA Most Valuable Player, the third time in six years that the league’s top honor went to a Hope player.
The Flying Dutchmen are looking to improve after finishing 4-16 last season and tying for fifth in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings. All-MIAA First Team honoree and senior Cody Herbruck were among those who have departed for Hope.
Co-captains Jon Hoffman and Sam Kreps lead the Flying Dutchmen.
Hoffman is a senior from Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS). Kreps is a junior from Holland, Michigan (Holland HS).
“These guys have been around the program. All the things that have been done in the past are good things,” Ford said. “They’re preaching sportsmanship and effort — things that we can control. We’re still talking about doing those things, but now we’re trying to add in my and Bob’s new styles.
“These guys have adapted really well to the change. They’re being great leaders. They’re corralling the guys together. I couldn’t ask for better captains.”
The Flying Dutchmen have three other players returning from last season: sophomores Andrew Dunn of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Northern HS), Nate Weeldreyer of Zeeland, Michigan (Zeeland HS), and sophomore Grant Wunderlich of Portage, Michigan (Portage Northern HS).
“They’ve grown up a lot. They’ve become great young men and great people to look up to for our freshmen,” Ford said. “I feel like we’ve got five upperclassmen. They’ve stepped up in a big way.”
Five freshmen have joined the Flying Dutchmen this season: Justin Folkert of Hamilton, Michigan (Hamilton HS), Michael Kiley of North Muskegon, Michigan (Mona Shores HS), Andrew Klein of Augusta, Michigan (Kalamazoo Christian HS), Christian Rhoades of Holland, Michigan (Holland Christian HS), and Mark VanderStoep of Holland, Michigan (West Ottawa HS).
“They’ve got skills. They’re going to have to transition into the college tennis wor’d very quickly,” Ford said. “We’re going to ask a lot of them early on. They’re going to need to be stingy with errors, make sure they’re putting balls in play. They’ve got to be sharp mentally. That’s tough to ask from a younger crew, but they’re smart and great kids. They’re definitely up to the challenge.”