Hope College Men's Tennis Historic Moments

Updated thru 2017 season

The first Hope College men's tennis match with an outside opponent occurred in 1916 against Grand Rapids YMCA.
In a sport dominated so long by one team, Hope has the distinction of being up to the challenge. While MIAA member Kalamazoo College has won every conference title since 1936, the Flying Dutchmen on three occasions (thru 2013) have forced a seasonal co-championship. In 1962, Hope stopped Kalamazoo's dual meet winning streak at 155 in-a-row, edging the Hornets 4-3. Over the next 41 years Kalamazoo strung together 241 consecutive dual meet victories but again it was Hope ending it with a convincing 7-2 triumph on April 15, 2003. The 2013 race was the most exciting in MIAA history with a three-way tie for first place involving Hope, rival Calvin and Kalamazoo. In league duals Calvin defeated Kalamazoo, then Kalamazoo topped Hope and in a season-ending match Hope edged Calvin 5-4 to create the co-championship. 

Lawrence "Doc" Green guided Hope's tennis fortunes for more than two decades until his untimely death on January 24, 1982. His teams had only five losing campaigns over 22 seasons, compiling an 84-24 record in league matches. A member of the Hope faculty since 1952, he also served as Hope's athletic trainer and had stints as the cross country and track & field coach. The MIAA named a student-scholar award in his honor.
In 1969 seniors Doug Barrow '69 and Ron Visscher '69 finished fourth at the NCAA College Division tournament. A three-time All-MIAA honoree, Visscher holds the Hope career record for singles victories (62-22). 

Only a freshman, Tom DeWeert was invited to compete in the NCAA Division III tournament. He was the first Hope player to be invited to the restructure Division III championship. He lost in the first round. 

Dan Mann '03 is the only Hope player in MIAA men's tennis history to receive All-MIAA first team honors four consecutive years (2000-2003). As a junior he received the league's sportsmanship award and as a senior was chosen the league's most valuable player.

In 2008 John Pelton went undefeated in conference dual matches and at the conference tournament, becoming the first non-Kalamazoo College player to go through league play undefeated at first flight singles. Kalamazoo has dominated the MIAA winning 70 consecutive league titles. Hope is the only team to interrupt the streak, forcing co-championships in 1962 and 2003. Pelton's 22 wins in 2008 was a Hope record for victories in a season. The previous mark was 21 by Doug Barrow in 1969. Back then Division III did not exist so Barrow competed in the NCAA College Division tournament where he went unseeded, upset the number one seed in the semi-finals and lost in the finals, but received a standing ovation from the crowd. He also advanced to the University Division tournament the following week, but lost in the first round. He ended with a 21-8 record. 

In 2009, senior John Pelton achieved All-America honors by advancing to the second round of the NCAA Division III tennis singles tournament in Claremont, Calif. Pelton opened with a first round victory over James Muliawan of Carnegie-Mellon, Pa. 6-2, 6-4, but lost in three sets in the second round to second-seeded Larry Wang of host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 5-7, 6-2, 6-3. Pelton was unseeded in the 32-player tournament. In 2009 Pelton compiled a 21-2 record and ended his Hope career with a 43-5 mark.

Senior Bobby Cawood went undefeated in league dual matches (6-0) and posted an overall 21-4 record in Hope's 2013 MIAA championship season. He was named the MIAA Most Valuable Player, the third time in the last six years that the league's top honor went to a Hope player.
Adam Ford was named Hope's 11th head men's tennis coach on July 14, 2015. He was named head coach of the men's and women's programs on April 22, 2017.

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