Tennis comes together to gain support

All the rain on Saturday didn’t stop Truman tennis from making the most of the weekend. Tennis closed out the month of March with its alumni weekend, the first of what Nick Thiele, the event’s organizer, hopes to be an annual event.

The event was initially slated to begin on Saturday morning with a match against the William Jewell College tennis team, but inclement weather forced a cancellation. The Bulldogs continued the event after this minor hiccup, however, and the scheduled alumni banquet Saturday night went as planned. The following Sunday morning featured an alumni brunch, as well as tennis matches between alumni and student athletes. The event succeeded in earning funds for the men’s tennis team with a grand total of just over $10,000.

Thiele said the team got the idea for the event after the men’s tennis program was cut from the school’s budget. The funds are going toward the Athletic Department’s projected $330,000 endowment necessary to keep the team operational. Thiele said the team’s alumni network would likely be able to help in the program’s time of need.

“The endowment fund they want us to set up is to fund the team on a yearly basis with the earnings of the fund — that’s why the three-thirty is so high,” Thiele said. “We were able to contact a lot of alumni throughout the process, dating all the way back to graduates in the 1960s. … We had all men’s and women’s tennis players attend, their families and some tennis alumni. Unfortunately, with our weather conditions, we had a couple of alumni call in no longer able to make it.”

Thiele said the team didn’t have an exact monetary amount in mind as a goal for the event, considering any dent in the $330,000 goal a step in the right direction. He said it was more important to begin raising funds and get the ball rolling on cementing men’s tennis as a permanent program at Truman State University.

Though the alumni event has ended, tennis’ 2018-19 season is still ongoing, and both men’s and women’s tennis have meets Friday, Saturday and Sunday against the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Maryville University and William Jewell College, respectively.