Walsh leaves Baker tennis

Story by Kyle Davis

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Second year head men’s and women’s tennis coach Rick Walsh will not coach the teams through their spring seasons.

The teams were  informed Monday that Walsh would not return to Baker.

“Nobody saw it coming,” junior Kyle Cumberland said. “It just really caught everybody by surprise.”

Walsh is a Baker alumnus who played tennis at Baker. He did not return phone calls as of Wednesday. 

“I could speak for every guy on the team and say we had a great relationship,” Cumberland said. “We’re all going to miss him.”

Senior Hunter Hollarn said Walsh’s absence would definitely be felt.

"He would do anything for our team," Hollarn said. "He meant a lot to the team."<br/>The next step for Baker is to find a replacement for Walsh. Walsh was a part-time coach at Baker and the new coach also will be part time. University President Pat Long issued a hiring freeze last month, but it will not apply to the new tennis coaching position because the coach will be filling a current position rather than a new position. The next step for Baker is to find a replacement for Walsh. Walsh was a part-time coach at Baker and the new coach also will be part time. University President Pat Long issued a hiring freeze last month, but it will not apply to the new tennis coaching position because the coach will be filling a current position rather than a new position. 
The next step for Baker is to find a replacement for Walsh. Walsh was a part-time coach at Baker and the new coach also will be part time. University President Pat Long issued a hiring freeze last month, but it will not apply to the new tennis coaching position because the coach will be filling a current position rather than a new position. 

“I think we’ll find somebody,” athletic director Dan Harris said. “We have a good reputation, a good program, good athletes, so I think there’ll be some people interested in the position.”

Harris said his goal, in a midseason situation like this, is to look for a long-term coach. However, if the university can’t find that person, he’s OK with people who could do a temporary job for the spring.

The team will continue to condition and practice without a coach.

“We’re still really optimistic,” Cumberland said. “With a coach or not we’re going to get ourselves ready to play.”

A lack of coach also will not affect the future of the tennis program.

Harris said one of the concerns when a coaching transition is made midseason is that the program might be in jeopardy, but that is not the case. He added that both teams will be retained. They will get a replacement, and the programs will be fully funded for the spring season.

“We have an unbelievable tradition of successful tennis,” Harris said. “Tennis is a pretty important program for us on this university.”

Harris has met with both the men’s and women’s teams. He said representatives from the teams will be involved with the search for a coach and will take information back to the team.