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New tennis coach, players excited by Baylor+s new possibilities in Big 12

Sept. 10, 1996

New tennis coach, players excited by Baylor's new possibilities in Big 12

Jeff Andresen/The LariatThe men's tennis team remains hard at work in preparation for an upcoming tournament at Notre Dame.

By Darcy McMichael

Lariat Sports Reporter

With the dawn of a new season approaching, the men's tennis team has already begun to prepare for upcoming conference play and tournaments with the help of new head coach Matt Knoll.

'We're very pleased to be getting a coach of Matt's caliber as we head into the Big 12 conference,' Baylor Athletic Director Tom Stanton said. 'Our goal is to have every one of our programs among the top 20 in the nation, and we're confident that Matt can do just that with our men's tennis team.'

Knoll recently served as a men's assistant coach at the University of Kansas for two years, where he helped develop a team that won two Big 8 championships and a top-10 national ranking.

'With his success at Kansas, Matt knows exactly what it takes to build an outstanding program,' Stanton said.

Knoll, who is the school's first full-time tennis coach, is hopeful about the season and the players.

'We have a lot of work to do on all bases,' Knoll said. 'I am hoping that as they have expectations put on them, that they will rise. We are ready to be nationally competitive.'

The tennis team itself is unique in that it has players from the Czech Republic, Germany, Sri Lanka, and South Africa.

Robby Ruttman, who came to the United States last January from Port Elizabeth, South Africa and attended Southern Florida University last semester, recently transferred to Baylor this year to play tennis under Knoll.

'I think the team has a lot of potential,' Ruttman said. 'With the expertise and enthusiasm of Matt Knoll I think we can do great things.'

However, both the tennis players and the coach realize that it is going to take hard-work and dedication in order to make an impact on their conference record.

The men's tennis team leaves for a tournament at Notre Dame Sept. 19, where they will be playing schools from various parts of the country.

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