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New SDSU tennis coach looks to take program to next level

New SDSU tennis coach looks to take program to next level

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by Robin Ak

The South Dakota State tennis teams have a new face to take their team to the next level. That face is Joey Barnes. The former Upper Iowa University women’s tennis coach took the job in July after previous head coach Michael Engdahl resigned in May to pursue other professional opportunities.

“The expectation is pretty simple, continue to be at least competitive academically and on the court,” Barnes said. “The biggest goal is to continue the winning streak that we have going.” Barnes knows that the next step for SDSU tennis is to reach the NCAA Tournament.

He’d also like to see improvements in their facilities. As of right now the teams practice at Hillcrest Park, a public park here in Brookings. “I’d like to have our own court,” Barnes said. “I’d like to see the university and Brookings community get involved in tennis by getting a facility so we can get more tennis players out there.” Barnes served in the military as a member of the U.S Navy for 27 years.

The Navy has taught Barnes a lot, but he actually uses what he learns in tennis to help him in the military and his everyday life. “Tennis teaches you that you can’t always win and to have discipline,” Barnes said.

“You have to know your limitations when you play tennis, so i’m trying to teach my players and students to believe that nothing is impossible.” Barnes said it was love at first sight when he entered the SDSU Campus. “The people were extremely friendly, the campus is beautiful, every student has a smile on their face and the Brookings community is great.” Barnes said.

From a recruiting aspect, Barnes wants to change some things including getting more local kids and trying to get more of the “impossible” kids. He’ll try and do this by selling the academics and campus at SDSU.

“I ask them a question ‘how many kids are trying to get in this school?’” Barnes said. “If a lot of people want to come to SDSU, shouldn’t that tell you something?” .

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