Bellevue College athletics welcomes back men’s tennis to the spring schedule after a 17-year absence. In the 2014-2015 athletic season, BC will be proud to have an organized men’s team at an intercollegiate level alongside a championship winning women’s tennis team. Both teams will be coached by Head Coach Jason Chapman who has led the women’s team to nine NWAACC titles since 2005.
The main reason it’s been so long since BC has had a men’s team is due to Title IX issues. Title IX is an equal opportunity title that requires “an equal amount of players for both our men’s programs and our women’s programs,” Athletics Director Bill O’Connor explains. Over the years, the percentage has been fluctuating around 52 percent participation by women and 48 percent participation by men. “It was a good opportunity to add a men’s team back to balance the men’s and women’s participation,” says O’Connor.
Coach Chapman was approached with the idea in early May and whole-heartedly agreed to take on a men’s team. The return of a men’s team makes the number of men’s tennis teams equal to that of the women’s tennis teams at the NWAACC Championships. The addition of a Bellevue College team increases the total to four, alongside community colleges of Spokane, Treasure Valley and Skagit Valley, which all have women’s teams as well.
At the end of the NWAACC last year, a tweet and email were sent out to let everyone know that next year Bellevue College would be returning with a men’s team. After that, most people and potential players found out through “word of mouth,” says Coach Chapman.
There will be an informational meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Robinswood Tennis Center for all players that want to try out. The meeting will consist of discussing “schedules, tryouts and what practices will look like,” explains Coach Chapman. “We’ll have a jamboree coming up in the fall.”
Tryouts will be held on Feb. 2-4 at the Robinswood Tennis Center for the spring season. Chapman has a list of 20 potential players that have contacted him for tryouts. “We have a lot of players that train over at Robinswood already that go to school at Bellevue College and want to continue playing tennis at an intercollegiate level,” explains O’Connor.
The regular season for both men’s and women’s tennis starts in early February until the NWAACC tournaments in early May. Chapman states that they’ll take the best eight to 10 players “that will come out to tryouts and are eligible to come to practices.” In the fall, there will be a bit of practice for both the men and the women’s teams together, but they may be separating practices in the spring.
Coach Chapman explains that the benefit to BC athletics that the men’s team will have will be incredible. “Just starting out with the team I believe it will be strong and we’ll already be competing for championships just within the first year, especially with the interest that I’ve had so far,” he says.
For more information or about tryouts, contact Jason Chapman at (425)-452-4287 or at email@example.com.