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Iowa benefiting from youth

BY BLAKE DOWSON | FEBRUARY 18, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s tennis program received a much-needed shot in its arm in September 2014, and the benefits are starting to show.

Steve Houghton, the head coach for the Hawkeyes for 34 years, announced his retirement at the beginning of the school year and assistant coach Ross Wilson was named interim head coach.

Wilson, a 2007 graduate of Ohio State, decided to bring on a former teammate of his, Ty Schaub, as an assistant.

Senior Matt Hagan and junior Dom Patrick agree that having some new and younger blood in charge of the program has been a breath of fresh air.

“It’s easy to relate to Ross and Ty,” Patrick said. “They’re young, and they’ve been through a lot of the same things we have.”

The young duo has brought new life to the program, and the team is starting to trend upwards.

The Hawkeyes are 6-1 on the season so far, with an undefeated record at home and a road win at No. 54 Utah. The Black and Gold’s lone loss came against No. 64 Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y.

Wilson and Schaub said being recent graduates of a successful tennis program has helped them become better coaches.

Wilson and Schaub take things they learned from their coaching stops after they left Columbus, Ohio, and apply them at Iowa.

“I’ve picked things up everywhere I’ve been,” Schaub said. “I’ve tried to take little things from each of my stops and apply them to the next place.”

Wilson served as the men’s and women’s assistant coach at Kenyon College from 2010-12. In 2012, he was hired at San Diego and that same year was named Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Assistant Coach of the Year.

Schaub spent time as the men’s and women’s assistant coach at Cornell from 2009-2010 and was the assistant coach at Penn for three years before becoming Iowa’s assistant.

Wilson said he also tries to find a mix of things he liked from each of his previous positions.

“I’ve been in three different programs as an assistant,” he said. “I tried to take what the head coach did well and keep it in my file … I took stuff from Ohio State, San Diego, and I put it in a good mix.”

Wilson has set his sights high for his Iowa program and sees it one day becoming a power like his alma mater.

His most recent recruiting class is evidence enough to back up that vision, with two five-star recruits and two foreign recruits with professional experience.

Freshmen Jake Jacoby and Josh Silverstein have sealed victories for the Hawkeyes against BYU and Utah, respectively, with the team score tied at 3-3 in each match.

Schaub said he wants to see the team develop into a Big Ten contender and compete for a spot in the NCAA tournament every year, and he wants to see every guy leave as a better player than when he came in.

“Our goal is to be top 30 in the country and top four in the Big Ten,” Wilson said. “We have the right guys to do it here right now. Every year, we’ll get stronger … the future is bright here.”

Follow @B_Dows4 for updates, news and analysis of the Iowa men’s tennis team.


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