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Iowa men's tennis transfer looks to leave mark on the program

BY KEVIN GLUECK | OCTOBER 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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On a team with numerous players who come from overseas, the one player on the Iowa men’s tennis team who’s traveled the most might be redshirt junior and Barrington, Ill., native Brian Alden.

He transferred to Iowa this fall from Florida State, and Iowa is his third school in four years. Before attending Florida State, Alden redshirted at Illinois and played one year, recording 17 doubles wins, along with six singles wins.

“I decided to leave [Illinois] because there were some team issues,” Alden said. “Guys on the team weren’t very close. We could’ve been a really good team, but instead there was a lot of fighting between guys, and I decided to go somewhere else where the team was closer, or a warm weather school.”

Alden said he originally wanted to transfer to Virginia Tech, but that fell through. Instead, Alden went to another ACC school in Florida State. However, all was not well in Tallahassee.

“I had a ton of issues with [Florida State head coach Dwayne Hultquist],” Alden said. “I wasn’t played for non-tennis reasons that I still don’t know to this day.”

Alden posted a combined 11-2 record in singles and doubles during his only fall season at Florida State. He only played three doubles matches in the spring, winning all of them.

“I decided to get back to the Big Ten, and [Iowa head coach] Steve [Houghton] gave me a chance,” Alden said. “I figured that the team was struggling, and I could try to help it my senior year.”

Houghton said he originally recruited Alden, a five-star recruit in high school according to tennisrecruiting.net. Houghton had to get permission from Florida State to talk to Alden after he had contacted Iowa.

“We’re thrilled to have him on the team,” Houghton said. “I wish like crazy that he could play for us this year; he’d be a big help.”

NCAA rules state that a tennis player can play immediately after the first time they transfer. Any other transfer requires sitting out another year.

“You have to be a little careful sometimes when recruiting transfers. There may be skeletons in their closet relative to why they’re transferring,” Houghton said. “In his case, I was convinced that there were no skeletons.”

Alden brings a distinct personal advantage to Iowa: He has played in the Big Ten before. And despite only being with the team for a few months, Alden fits in, says senior and team captain Garret Dunn.

“It honestly feels like he’s been on the team for the past three years,” Dunn said. “We all get along pretty well. He’s established himself as a valuable member of the team.”

Alden has fit in on the court as well as he has off the court.

“He’s been a great practice partner,” Dunn said. “He’s still giving it his all in practice. That’s something good to play against.”

Despite having to sit out a year, Alden is still motivated to prepare for his senior season and leave his mark on the program, which is coming off of a program-worst 1-22 spring season.

“If I can step up and have a big year [in 2013], I can help the team go toward the right direction,” he said.


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