USD renews tennis program University of South Dakota athletic director Kelly Higgins announced today the reinstatement of the varsity men's and women's tennis for the spring semester. Higgins also announced the appointment of Joe Eckert, Vermillion, as head coach of the programs.
"I am very pleased to offer tennis again, and have a quality person like Joe lead our teams," Higgins said. "Joe knows the game extremely well and has a working knowledge of the players and their abilities. I'm confident he will do an excellent job in making tennis a competitive sport in the North Central Conference."
Eckert, a Vermillion business owner, is no stranger to the tennis world. He lettered two years as a player at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, and was the number two singles player at Mankato State University where he earned his undergraduate degree in business economics in 1986. Eckert, who received his master's degree in economics and marketing in 1989, was a teaching pro in Bloomington, MN, for two years and for one year competed in semi-pro satellite tournaments.
"I'm very excited about putting a tennis team together at the University," Eckert stated. "I've had the opportunity to work with the kids and I'm extremely optimistic about our chances to be very competitive in my first year."
After experiencing a one year absence, the tennis program will begin practice this winter and match play in March.