Coach of the Week: Chuck Brown

by Abby Ferguson

Tennis head coach Chuck Brown, a 1999 graduate of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., has proven his ability to be successful. For the eighth-consecutive year, he has received the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year award, which is voted on by all the tennis coaches in the conference.

“It feels good to win Coach of the Year again this year for women’s tennis in the Heartland Conference,” said Brown.

Coach Chuck Brown, right, instructs Stephanie Townsend, one of the all-conference first team selections in the Heartland Conference. Townsend is a junior from Louisville, Ky.

Even as a player, Brown was successful on the tennis court. He was a varsity player and captain at Meridian Community College in Meridian, Miss., where he qualified for the regional semifinals in both singles and doubles. Also during this time he finished third in Mississippi in the NJCAA tournament.

Brown brought his tennis knowledge to Transylvania and has had continued success. In the 2010 season, Brown led the women to their eighth-consecutive Heartland Conference regular season and tournament championships. Although he has been successful through the years, he sees the success of the athletes as a bigger accomplishment.

“Winning Coach of the Year is great, but if our team has success and fun, that is all that matters. The girls reaching their full potential on the court and in the classroom is what our coaching staff is most proud of,” said Brown.

The women’s tennis program received various awards this season. Junior Kelsey Fulkerson, who went undefeated with a record of 13-0, won the HCAC Player of the Year Award, which was the first the women’s program has received.

“Kelsey and I had talked about this as a goal for the season. I knew she could do it and she played well all fall. Kelsey also earned a Heartland Conference Player of the Week award this season,” said Brown.

Several other of Brown’s players received awards. Senior Sarah Ridley won Player of the Week during the regular season. She and Fulkerson, along with junior Stephanie Townsend and senior Katie Boone made the HCAC all-conference first team. Fulkerson and Ridley were also 11-1 in doubles, which landed them at the No. 1 spot this season.

“Transy had the most first team All-HCAC selections than any other team. Sophomore Kaitlin Hizny was named to the second team All-HCAC. Katie Boone is the first TU women’s tennis player to earn first team all-conference four straight years in a row,” said Brown.

During the season, the women won several tournaments and showed the conference they deserved to be on top. The women won the HCAC flighted tournament where they competed with the top eight HCAC teams in Indianapolis. Their season ended by finishing second in the Heartland Conference tournament, where they lost to the No. 1 seed Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

The women have also been successful academically, of which Brown is most proud. They received the Highest Team GPA award last year with 3.51 and the ITA Academic All-American Team award in both 2009 and 2010.

“Our women’s tennis program has worked hard the last few years to move up as one of the top teams in the HCAC. This group of seniors helped change the culture the last four years to a winning program,” said Brown.

The women rounded out their season with an 8-3 record overall.

Brown also gave credit to his assistant coaches Keith Cecil and Danny Schmidt, whom he believes are “a big part of the program.”
“They are my coaches of the year,” he said.

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