How Ed Prudhomme Has Grown GCU Club Tennis
By David Carter/GCU Staff
Every GCU club sport has its humble beginnings.
This bodes especially true for GCU Club Tennis.
A program that has grown from five athletes to roughly 45 athletes, Club Tennis is closer to that major breakthrough that will separate them from the pack.
Recently, Head Coach Ed Prudhomme talked about how he grew the program and the team’s future goals.
How the program has grown within the past five years?
Prudhomme: The first year, it was student-led. They used to practice off-campus because they did not have courts on campus. They had 3-4 people come out to practice, didn’t travel nor go to tournaments. The next year, they started hiring coaches for all the club sports and that included me. We probably had 15-16 my first year, then another 5-6 the next two years, and the following year we went nuts with 45 players. Coming from a handful to 40 is pretty good.
What are some of the goals for GCU Club Tennis?
Prudhomme: I would like for us to keep getting better and better so we can go to nationals and do some damage in the national tournaments. In the last couple of years, we’d get a couple of kids who come out, aren’t very strong but still have a desire to play tennis. I’d love to start a second team for those kids so they can play and not travel around. Hopefully after someone was on that for a season or two, they could transfer up to the competitive team.
Kind of like a developmental system?
Prudhomme: Yes. I had almost had 200 students interested this year. And when I went to the Club Sports Fair, we had 95 people who I had not talked to who came by the club desk. Most of those came out (to club tennis practices/meetings), but once they saw the level we were at, they did not think they would get much playing time. I’d love to have 50 of those kids training and playing some matches in an in-house league. Maybe get an assistant coach to do some lessons with them once a week. It would also be neat when we have some in-town tournaments to have 100 Grand Canyon Club Tennis Players out there watching.
That would be imposing to the other schools.
Prudhomme: In fact, at the Sectional Tournament last year, the GCU D1 Men’s Tennis Team, all nine of them, came to our sectional tournament. They were sitting between the benches and were doing cheers. All the other schools said, “Our D1 players do not even know who we are. They would never come out and cheer us on.” They were there both Saturday and Sunday.
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