OU Tennis Program Resurrected
Posted by cservaes on March 12, 2012 in Athletics, "Current Students", "The College"
Lance Lysaught was hired in early fall to resurrect the Ottawa University men’s tennis team after more than 20 years of dormancy. The men’s tennis team was in existence from the fall of 1889 to 1944, but was cut in 1944 because of World War II. The program resumed in 1947, but was terminated in 1993. In October, Lysaught successfully signed the first men’s tennis player since that time. He was also hired to create the first women’s tennis program in OU history, signing the institution’s first female player in November. OU Junior Chase Dippel and Taylor Eubanks, a senior at Lawrence High School, will lead the tennis teams next year. Dippel is a current member of the OU Braves men’s basketball team and was a four-year letter winner on the tennis court at Smoky Valley High School. He helped lead the Vikings to a state championship his senior season on the tennis court. “I look to Chase to be an integral part of mentoring and leading our young team into competition,” said Lysaught. Eubanks earned three letters in tennis and two in cheer for Lawrence High School. She is a three-time state qualifier on the tennis court and has placed at state twice. “I look forward to seeing Taylor grow as an athlete, but more importantly as a student leader,” said Lysaught. “My vision for the Ottawa University team is multifaceted,” said Lysaught. “First, I want to establish an advanced conditioning program that will give our tennis players a physical edge over the competition. Secondly, I am committed to helping each player improve not only technical skills but the mental and emotional aspects of their tennis games.” Lysaught said his third goal for the tennis team may be the most important, however. “OU tennis will emphasize character and sportsmanship while setting specific goals for winning the KCAC conference,” said Lysaught. “We will not be afraid to dream big. We want a team committed to excellence in all aspects of the competitive and academic environment.” The 2011-2012 academic year has been dedicated to recruiting, but Lysaught said he is eager to begin competitive competition in fall 2012. “It is an honor to be entrusted with the task of putting Ottawa tennis back on the map of the KCAC and beyond,” said Lysaught. “Recruiting is on a positive track with many campus visits, interested athletes and scholarship offers. It is early in the recruiting ball game, but so far I am pleased with the interest level.” Lysaught has been certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association since 1997. He was the head tennis professional at the Topeka Country Club, where he was in charge of scheduling practices and mentoring assistant tennis professionals on and off the court. Before that, he was the head tennis professional for four years and the tennis director for a year at the Wood Valley Racquet Club in Topeka, Kansas. “Lance comes to us with an impressive background in tennis,” said Athletic Director Arabie Conner. “He is well respected in regards to his competitive playing background and coaching knowledge and expertise. His passion and character-driven approach to the game stand out and make him a great addition to our athletic department and campus community.”