The Baldwin Wallace University men's tennis program is one of the finest in the Ohio Athletic Conference, and its student-athletes are supported as well as any in NCAA Division III athletics.
"We want the student-athlete who plays men's tennis at Baldwin Wallace University to have a solid experience both academically and athletically," said Head Coach Brian Rector, a 1989 BW graduate and the winningest men's tennis coach in school, Ohio Athletic Conference and Ohio collegiate tennis history. Rector enters his 31st season as the head coach of the Yellow Jackets with the same enthusiam he had when he took over the team in 1989.
"Our goal is to continue to be one of the best NCAA Division III programs in the country," said Rector, who has a 542-115 career record with an .825 winning percentage following a 15-6 record in 2018-2019. "We want to have fun, be competitive in the OAC, midwest and nationally, and teach our student-athletes some valuable lessons about competition and hard work.
"Our program already is among the elite of the OAC and among the best of small college programs in the Central Region of the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association). We have developed a winning attitude," said Rector.
"We are looking for players who are willing to work hard both in the classroom and on the court," continued Rector, who at one time owned all of BW's tennis records. "We are pleased about our continued pursuit of excellence both in the classroom and on the court, and we will continue working toward our goal of winning a Division III national title.
"Each year we play a more challenging schedule," said Rector. "We want young people who want to be part of the success."
The Rector Tennis Philosophy
Rector's philosophy is based on academics, fundamentals, hard work and desire.
"We ask each student-athlete to make his academic experience his number one priority," said Rector, who was an Academic All-American player in 1988-1989 as a senior and has coached four Academic All-Americans. "By striving for success both in the classroom and on the tennis court, we know from experience, that it brings balance to a young man's collegiate experience."
Training begins each winter in the weight room and at local racquet clubs prior to the team's spring trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Traditionally, BW has utilized the North Ridge Racquet Club in North Ridgeville and the Paramount Tennis Club in Medina.
"We are fortunate to have a school that fully supports excellence by providing the funding for us to train and prepare for our season," said Rector. "The facilities in the Lou Higgins Center, at local racquet clubs and at the "Pop" Collins Court help us to achieve our goals. The University is extremely supportive of our men's and women's tennis programs."
To be successful, the men's tennis student-athlete is asked to contribute a consistent, hard-working effort, to develop himself into the best physical condition, to be willing to learn and execute all the basic skills and to be unselfishly dedicated to the achievement of the team goals.
"We want each young man to understand and buy into the concept of team," said Rector, who has coached three Yellow Jacket teams to OAC titles. "In life and after graduation, many of our young men will work in a team environment. We feel that the work that our young men will do in the classroom and on the tennis court at BW is an extension of that learning experience."
The Facilities and The "Pop" Collins Tennis Complex
The A.W. "Pop" Collins Tennis Center offers the Yellow Jackets a first-class facility for matches and practice. The facility, named after the Yellow Jackets' first tennis coach and located in the center of campus, has six asphalt courts and is lighted for night play.
In addition to the fine outdoor area, BW tennis athletes can practice or play in the Rec Center, and when these facilities are unavailable, the Yellow Jacket program has use of number of racquet clubs. The BW squad has unlimited play during the months of January and February to hone its skills prior to the spring trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina in March.
BW's Annual Spring Training Trip to Hilton Head, S.C.
Each year, the men's tennis team travels south during spring break to Hilton Head, South Carolina to begin the outdoor season. In Hilton Head, the men train and practice for the season and OAC schedule in the warm South Carolina climate. In addition, BW also plays the best competition available in Hilton Head prior to beginning its northern schedule.
The Ohio Athletic Conference
BW plays in the prestigious 10-team Ohio Athletic Conference. Each OAC team plays the other nine and the team with the best regular season record is the OAC regular season champion and top seed in the OAC Tournament. The winner of the OAC Tournament receives an automatic berth in the Division III National Tournament.
The OAC Tournament at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio
The top eight teams during the OAC regular season qualify for the OAC Tournament. First round matches are played on campus sites with the top four seeds receiving a home court advantage.
The past few years, the OAC Tournament Final Four has been played at the nationally-renown Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason, Ohio. The facility has 10 courts and a main center court that has been the site of numerous professional and amateur championship events.