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Purdue University Calumet to Add Men’s Varsity Tennis in the Fall of 2010

Donn Gobbie

For the 2010-2011 school year, Purdue University Calumet will expand the athletic program to include four new sports programs, one of which is men's tennis, which will be coached by the very experienced Donn Gobbie.

Purdue University Calumet teams are members of NAIA (Division II) and compete within the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC).

Donn Gobbie brings his 21 years of coaching experience to Purdue Calumet, as he is been put in charge of developing the Peregrine’s men’s tennis program. Gobbie’s last coaching stop was at St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., where he was credited with rebuilding the men’s team, highlighted by a school-record 19 victories in 2004.

According to Gobbie, he never paid for tennis lessons and got to where he is today through his own hard work.

"It began when I was growing up in Gary. I was into a lot of sports. A bunch of us would walk up to the park where I started taking free [tennis] lessons and I really liked it," Gobbie said.

When Gobbie was in high school, his family moved and he transferred to a small, rural school without a tennis team. However, that did not stop Gobbie from competing in his favorite sport.

"I played so much on my own that I was able to get a scholarship to a small school in South Carolina," Gobbie said.

Gobbie played tennis for one year at North Greenville College. He then transferred to Indiana University Northwest but did not play tennis there.

Gobbie began his coaching career in 1979 at Lew Wallace High School in Gary. He also coached at IUN, Valparaiso University, Gary Roosevelt High School, Hammond High School and St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, IN.

A few titles Gobbie holds are tennis director of the city of Gary, league director of world team tennis in Northwest Indiana and commissioner of tennis for the Hoosier State Games. This tennis veteran has a lot of plans for the PUC program.

"I would like to develop a program to give players who aren't quite at the big state school level an opportunity to play at a state school," Gobbie said.

Although Gobbie has never before started a program, he knows that recruiting is going to be very important.

"Even though [men's] tennis is going to be a no-cut sport, we will begin recruiting heavily at the high schools in the next few months because, as of now, we only have four or five guys at PUC who will be trying out," Gobbie said.

Gobbie said although he is not necessarily expecting to have a very successful first season, it is going to be an interesting one.

The ITA and USTA have joined forces to preserve and promote varsity college tennis at all levels and to encourage institutions to sponsor varsity college tennis. This effort has led to numerous varsity men's and women's tennis programs that have been established in the past five to six years among all of the divisional levels.

The main vehicle to achieve this critical mission has been the USTA/ITA Advocacy Network, which is comprised of more than 2,500 individuals throughout the country, all of whom are devoted to varsity college tennis. The ITA website (www.itatennis.com) contains valuable information regarding building tennis programs, advocacy and community outreach.