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Men's tennis coming back to Bellevue College | Community sports news
Every year, Bellevue College tennis coach Jason Chapman sits in the stands and watches, wondering about the possibilities.
The longtime coach of the ultra-successful women's program for the Bulldogs, Chapman has taken his team to nine of the past 10 Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges titles.
But when he visits the championship tournament and watches men's programs from his team's conference rivals vie for the top spot, he is relegated to spectator.
Beginning in the 2014-15 academic year, that will change, as Chapman will lead the revival of the college's men's tennis program as it takes the court for the first time in 17 years.
"I'm so excited," Chapman said. "It's honestly my dream."
The dream of many area boys to play collegiate tennis, with the possibility to eventually land at a four-year university, is also now back in play in one of the most talent-rich areas in the state.
Chapman said if he can begin to draw even a fraction of those individuals to Bellevue College, the program could soon find itself on equal footing with its women’s program atop the conference.
"I think it's going to be a really easy process to get boys in,” he said, adding he receives regular inquiries about a men’s team. “I've already got kids with high school championships, kids with a year of college tennis who want to transfer in.”
Bellevue College associate athletic director Mark Yoshino said Title IX compliance led to the cut of men's tennis last time around, and with Chapman looking to create a self-sufficient program through fundraising efforts, the college's athletic department will not be on the hook for expenses.
On the court, Chapman was not shy about his hopes for the program's return season and beyond.
"I always aim high," he said. "I'm competitive, and we're going to make it happen."
To be eligible for the team, players must be enrolled in 12 credits or more at Bellevue College, and maintain good academic standing. Chapman said he plans to host a tryout in the first week of February, with the hopes of fielding a team to fill six singles spots and three doubles pairs.
But more than the logistics, or even his own workload, which will double with the addition of a men's program, Chapman said the opportunity to bring more championships to the Bulldogs' trophy case is what fuels him.
"Watching the other NWAACC teams at the tournament, I know if we can bring in boys, we can take those teams," he said. "We want to be NWAACC champions next year, and we're going to do it."