Brian Alden to make up lost time and redeem himself

BY JACK ROSSI | OCTOBER 24, 2013 5:00 AM

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When you look around the tennis courts this year, you may see somebody you might not recognize. Chances are he is Brian Alden, a transfer student from Barrington, Ill., playing in his last year of eligibility. He is excited to bring his talents and an interesting new tattoo to the team.

Alden started playing tennis around the age of 10, with the help of his sister, and by the time he graduated from high school, he was touted as one of the country’s best tennis recruits and was rated at high as No. 55 nationally. Alden attended Illinois for his freshman year and was redshirted for a season. After a couple successful seasons, he transferred to Florida State. Problems at the school led him to transfer again after the year.

But Alden eventually settled at Iowa and thanks his sister for bringing him to the school.

“I wanted to get back to the Big Ten, and I knew he [head coach Steve Houghton] was a good coach,” Alden said. “My sister graduated from Iowa, so I have been here before, and I really like the school.”
Once at Iowa, Alden was forced to sit out a for a year because of the transfer from Florida State, where things did not go as smoothly as he had hoped because of personal reasons with the coach.

“I just had tons of problems with the coach and couldn’t get much playing time because of it,” Alden said.

This season means more to Alden than any season has before. He feels he has so much to prove in a short time.

“This year means a lot because I feel like I have missed out on a couple years,” Alden said.

Some players already think he has proven himself as a team leader.

“He came here and didn’t need much time to adjust and he is a leader too. He keeps the pressure off of us. He is a good guy,” senior Jonas Dierckx said.

One thing that has helped him express his desire to succeed is a tattoo he got before the season. The tattoo is of a tiger hawk with the words “redemption” written underneath it.

“This is my third school and I really like it here so, it really means something to me to be a Hawkeye.

I’m really proud to play here at Iowa; more than the other schools. I’ve always wanted a tattoo and it’s a good reason to get one so, I will always be a Hawkeye,” Alden said.

Houghton thinks the tattoo perfectly expresses who Alden is.

“I think it’s part of Brian. He’s a unique guy, creative guy, fun guy. I have no rules against tattoos... I would never get one but, the message is good,” Houghton said. 

However, Dierckx was joking around when he said he thinks that the tattoo was an impulsive decision.

“He says he has been thinking about it for a long time but I think it was just a thing he thought of for a week and then got,” Dierckx said.

Another thing Alden brings to the team is his sense of humor — the team loves his impressions.

“I can do pretty much everyone on the team,” he said. “I can do accents, I can do coaches walk. I have always been able to imitate tons of people.”

He had all the recruits at the team dinner laughing earlier this year.

Despite being made fun of, the coaches have been eagerly waiting for more tournaments to see what Alden can do against other competition and make up for lost time. They see a big upside to Alden.

“I believe that Brian could eventually be a top player for us moving forward,” Houghton said.

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