The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Continuing the tradition

    Enjoying its best overall season since 2001, the 20th ranked netmen compiled an 11-8 overall record, while finishing second in the western division of the Southeastern Conference at 6-5.
    The Bulldogs also earned the sixth-seed in the SEC Tournament, the highest such ranking in tourney play since 2000. The success of this year’s team has landed head coach Sylvain Guichard a share of the SEC’s Head Coach of the Year Award, sharing the prestigious award with his mentor and former MSU tennis coach Andy Jackson.
    “I truly believe that we have the structure at MSU to compete for a national championship,” Guichard said upon his hire. “We came very close a couple of times in the past decade, and I don’t think it was due to pure luck.”
    Success is no stranger to the Mississippi State men’s tennis team. The structure and potential Guichard speaks of is reflected in the program’s 14 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances-a 15th is very much in sight. MSU is one of seven teams nationally to receive 14 successive tourney invites.
    The netmen first appeared in the NCAA Championship in 1965 under Tom Sawyer. Sawyer also guided the Bulldogs to its first SEC Championship in the same year and led the first of four consecutive netmen appearances in the NCAA.
    In its first appearance, All-American Bobby Brien led the netmen to an eighth place finish. Brien continued his inspired play on to the round of 16 in singles, where he fell to UCLA’s Arthur Ashe.
    The current NCAA streak began during the Andy Jackson era. The all-time leader in coaching victories with 220, Jackson led the Bulldogs to 11 successive showings in the national championships, including 10 Sweet Sixteen appearances.
    In the 1994 season MSU marked its best all-around season. The netmen were ranked third going into the national championships, the highest ranking since 1967. State reached the national semifinals for the first time in history with defeats over Kansas (4-0) and SEC foe Georgia (4-2).
    But the netmen fell to eventual national champs, Southern Cal. Although the team fell short of reaching the finals, the dynamic duo of Laurent Miquelard and Joc Simmons claimed the doubles national championship title.
    Arguably, one of the most talented and deepest squads in the school’s history, the 1998 netmen featured three all-Americans -Thomas Dupre, Matthieu Ballay and Simon Larose-on its way to the semifinals for the second time in school history. Yet another California based team, this time Stanford, ended the Bulldogs run at securing its first national title.
    Before the Guichard era could truly take off, which began in 2002, MSU director of athletics Larry Templeton said, “We are confident that his [Guichard] experience and direction as our head coach will keep our team in the national limelight of college tennis.”
    Guichard has done exactly that. Guichard continues to solidify the program’s rich and competitive history in the NCAAs. Although the netmen have yet to move beyond the second round of play, Guichard says, “We understand that if we go by the game plan, we will get where we want to go. We know our potential. The most important thing is to develop it.”

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Continuing the tradition