Hamline’s very own tennis legend

Head Tennis coach Spencer Jones, once Hamline’s number one singles player, is looking at starting his fourth year at Hamline after having started mere months before the lockdown.

PJ Stebbings, Sports Reporter

For Piper’s head tennis coach Spencer Jones, coaching at Hamline is personal. 

Jones was a three year captain of the Hamline Men’s Tennis team in the 1990s and is considered one of Hamline’s all-time best tennis players. 

“Coaching at Hamline is just something I’ve always wanted to do,” he says, “Having been a player here and then getting to coach at your alma mater, it’s just a dream come true.” 

Jones, who is a Wisconsin native, played number one singles for Hamline and graduated in 1997. He returned to Hamline as head coach in 2019 and enters his fourth year with the Pipers, after coming over from Lakeville South High School in 2019.

When Jones came to Hamline, he took over coaching duties not only for the men’s team but for the women’s team as well. 

“I realize it’s a lot of time and a big commitment coaching two teams, but I love the job and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Jones said. 

Due to his playing background, he has had to make a few adjustments to his mindset. 

“I realized I have had to have more patience with my players then I would have had with myself,” he said. “I am very competitive but I can’t let that get in the way of coaching my players.” 

He has also had to adjust to the college game. 

“A big change from high school coaching to college is recruiting, in high school you get the players you get, in college you have to bring the kids to your program.” 

When Jones is recruiting he looks for a certain build in his player. 

 “I love big, aggressive players because you can teach a big guy skill, but you can’t teach a skilled guy how to be big,” Jones said.

The Piper men’s tennis team has a lot to look forward to this season. After starting the year 2–1, they dropped to 2–2 after losing to top-ranked Carleton College. Despite this loss, Jones is full of optimism.

“This is definitely the strongest men’s team we’ve had while I’ve been head coach,” he said. “I believe we have a very good chance to make The MIAC tournament at the end of the year.”

This is something that the Pipers haven’t done in many years. Jones points to his senior leaders, Sean Le and Sam Thompson for setting the standard every day. 

“Those guys are loud, enthusiastic and always where they are supposed to be. Whether it’s the weight room, tennis court or a student event, I can always count on them to do the right thing,” Jones said.  

This has paid off for the whole team, especially Sean Le, who was 6–0 going into the match with Carleton College.

For the women, Coach Jones is extremely impressed with the progress they have made, despite being an extremely young team. The women’s tennis team currently does not have a senior on the team and has only two juniors. Seven of the 10 women’s tennis players are freshmen, meaning the team has a lot of growing to do. 

The team is 1–2 going into this weekend, but Jones was impressed with how they played against a Carleton team that is always at the top of the conference. 

“Being able to keep up with a team like Carleton, who is always a top MIAC team, is a great sign for us, and shows that we can play with anyone,” Jones said. 

Jones was impressed with the performances of junior captain Sydney Hubbard, who was named Hamline Athlete of the Week and with freshman Christa Muller, who was 4–0 going into the match with Carleton.