Hope College has become one of only eight colleges and universities in the nation to offer Professional Tennis Management (PTM) certification, providing students with access to a career path with nearly 100-percent placement for new graduates.
PTM programs serve as a platform for aspiring students and professionals to pursue careers in the tennis industry.
Hope is offering its program in conjunction with its major in exercise science, placing a strong emphasis on player wellness and coaching as well as applied experience in program and facility management. Students, kinesiology department chair Dr. Kirk Brumels noted, will also benefit from the college’s award-winning tennis facilities and specialized staff that includes nationally recognized tennis-teaching professional Jorge Capestany, who is manager of the DeWitt Tennis Center and outdoor VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts and is directing the program.
“The level of scientific and human performance background that Hope College students will gain through the exercise science major will set us apart from other institutions with PTM certification programs,” Brumels said. “We believe strongly that the combination of rigor associated with Hope College coursework, the relevant courses in kinesiology and exercise science, and the extremely well-respected tennis professionals at the DeWitt Tennis Center will provide a level of education and preparation that will be difficult to replicate at other institutions.”
Experience has shown that the career prospects for PTM graduates are strong. According to Tom Daglis who has been the director of the PTM programs at Ferris State University and Methodist University, and now Berry College, “The PTM programs at Ferris State and Methodists that I have been a part of have had a 100-percent job placement rate since their inception. I expect the same to hold true now here at Berry where I am in the first year as director of PTM program.”
Hope has developed its program, which will begin offering courses in May 2018, with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), which is the governing body for tennis in the United States. Graduates of Hope’s program, which will exceed the standards that the USTA has established, will automatically receive certification through both the United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) and the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR).
“It is important to support the development of the next generation of leaders in our sport,” said Scott Schultz, managing director, USTA-U. “We are proud to team up with Hope College to provide the education, resources and opportunities to excel in the tennis industry.”
Hope’s program will include coursework totaling 65 credit hours out of the 126 hours that students must complete across the curriculum to graduate. It will include existing full-semester courses in the Department of Kinesiology such as Anatomical Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Human Anatomy, Nutrition, Performance Psychology and Philosophy of Coaching, many of which include a laboratory component, as well as in biology, chemistry and mathematics.
The Department of Kinesiology is also expanding its internship program and adding practicum courses to provide hands-on experience in tennis management, including staffing the college’s DeWitt Tennis Center, running programs such as tournaments and teaching lessons for players of a variety of ages.
“They will have learned how to string racquets, they will have taught children’s programs, they will have worked at the front desk. We will also take them beyond campus to gain broader experience—such as working with clay courts in the area, which they could expect to find more commonly in other parts of the country,” Capestany said. “I’m pretty excited about what we can offer.”
Capestany is one of only 10 people worldwide to both hold a Master Professional distinction with the USPTA and be an International Master Professional with the PTR. He is also a certified Mental Toughness Specialist through the Human Performance Institute and holds a USTA Sports Science certification.
His professional activity through the year has included coaching hundreds of ranked juniors; serving as a USTA faculty member conducting workshops for coaches; hosting many PTR and USPTA workshops and Midwest Conferences at DeWitt; founding two prominent tennis industry websites: a coach’s website, www.TennisDrills.tv; and speaking at professional conferences all over the world. The many honors he has received include the national 2015 Alex Gordon Award for the Professional of the Year from the USPTA for his exemplary career achievement; being named the “Michigan Pro of the Year” six times by either USPTA or PTR; and multiple recognition by the Midwest Division of the USPTA, including induction into its Hall of Fame in 2012.
The college’s six-court DeWitt Tennis Center opened in August 1994, and in addition to serving the campus is available to Holland community members, providing both junior and adult programs, as well as summer academies and private lessons. The facility was named the Outstanding Organization of the Year by the Western Michigan Tennis Association in both 2013 and 2016, and was named the national Public Facility of the Year by the PTR in 2010. In addition to Capestany, the center’s full-time staff includes Trish Gosselar, front desk manager; Nate Price, director of tennis; Jay Vander Laan, head professional and assistant varsity tennis coach; and Bob Cawood, tennis professional and head men’s and women’s tennis coach.
The 12-court, outdoor VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts, which opened during the summer of 2012, serve as home court for the college’s men’s and women’s tennis teams in addition to being available to the community. The outdoor facility, which includes elevated seating for spectators and an officials’ shelter, was chosen the Outdoor Tennis Court of the Year in 2013 by the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA).
Both the DeWitt Tennis Center and the VandePoel-Heeringa Stadium Courts are grouped within the Etheridge Tennis Complex. They are located east of the intersection of Fairbanks Avenue and 13th Street.
More information about the USTA’s PTM certification initiative is available at careersbeyondthecourt.com. The other seven colleges and universities with PTM programs are Berry College in Georgia; Ferris State University in Big Rapids; Grand Canyon University in Arizona; Methodist University in North Carolina; San Diego State University in California; Tyler Junior College in Texas; and the University of Central Florida.
More information about Hope’s PTM program is available at hope.edu/ptm.