Men adjust to Wheaton; women focusing

A month after two coaches’ suspensions, the Gophers men are fixing their problems.

Matt Anderson

When the NCAA came to the Twin Cities last month, Minnesota’s men’s tennis team was affected both on and off the court.

But as time passed, the players have been able to put some of the troubles costing them two coaches behind them.

“When we first heard about it, it was good to get away and go back to Texas to kind of get away from it,” senior Avery Ticer said. “It’s been a factor, but I think the guys have done a good job handling it. We got to spend some time together and build some camaraderie.”

On Feb. 21, coach David Geatz and assistant coach Adam Cohen were suspended indefinitely after the NCAA launched an investigation into the program. Volunteer coach Zachary Remis took over coaching duties until David Wheaton became interim coach March 2.

Wheaton said that although three coaches in one season has meant much change, it hasn’t been detrimental in the long term.

“(The coaching change) is a bit of a different thing to adapt to, because they don’t know us very well and they’ve known coach Geatz and Cohen for so long,” he said. “No matter what, we’re going to be different coaches than Dave Geatz, because we’re just different people. But they’ve really adapted well to the change.”

In the middle of the off-the-court turmoil that has enveloped Minnesota this season, on-the-court results have suffered.

The team struggled to a 2-7 start. But D.J. Geatz and Andres Osorio, who were suspended in November for their involvement in the infractions, returned March 11 against Iowa, combining for three wins in a 7-0 victory over the Hawkeyes.

And though the Gophers are just 3-7, their unblemished record in Big Ten play – and with all their starters – has Wheaton talking about a run in the conference.

“Our goal is to win the Big Ten title,” Wheaton said. “I think we can achieve it the way these guys are going right now. I’m very confident in their ability.”

Women re-emerging

Minnesota’s women’s tennis team began the season with dark clouds hanging over the program after a severe drop-off last season.

But after early upset wins over No. 59 Boston College and No. 45 Denver, the sky has begun to clear for the Gophers (5-6).

Coach Tyler Thomson said the key brightening the outlook this year is staying aggressive from point to point.

“We’ve shown some glimpses of great competitiveness this season and other glimpses of not competing as hard as we can,” Thomson said.

With six Big Ten teams ranked ahead of No. 66 Minnesota, the Gophers will have to compete at a high level if they are to make any headway in the conference race.