For the first time in more than a decade, Hillsdale College will sponsor a varsity men’s tennis team beginning in 2015-16. But before the team jumps back into the GLIAC officially, it will use the 2014-15 athletic year to recruit a team and re-establish the program. To that end, the college has hired Keith Turner to oversee the resurrection of the program.
Turner comes to Hillsdale College after a successful two-year stint at nearby Albion College. He previously served as the head tennis coach at Division II Limestone College in South Carolina, guiding that school’s men’s team to NCAA Division II tournament appearances in 2009 and 2010. He earned Coach of the Year honors in Conference Carolina in 2010. He also served as head coach at Lees-McRae, a Division II institution in North Carolina.
“This is an exciting challenge, one I’ve always wanted to do,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of good tennis in the area, and this is a very good tennis conference. I want to get this team to be as competitive as possible as soon as possible.”
He has a career record of 111-110, with a 61-53 mark on the men’s side.
While putting together excellent teams on the court, he has also placed a high emphasis on the academic performance of his teams, and they were rewarded during his two seasons at Albion. Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams there earned the highest overall grade point averages in their respective sports in the MIAA in 2013, with his women’s team winning that honor again in 2014.
Travis Vanhoy at Lees-McRae was named the Conference Carolina Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011 under Turner’s guidance.
“Coach Turner has a diverse coaching background that has prepared him well for the challenges of building a men’s tennis program at Hillsdale College,” stated college Athletic Director Don Brubacher. “We look forward to working with him and are excited about the future of Charger men’s tennis.”
Turner grew up in the Detroit suburb of Clarkston, and went on to play tennis collegiately at Boston University and Western Michigan University. He is a 1995 grad of WMU, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public law. He went on to get his master’s degree in sports administration from Wayne State University in 1997. He worked in the automotive industry from 1997-2007 before returning to the tennis coaching circuit.
He got back into the tennis game by working as an assistant coach at Emory & Henry College before being named Limestone’s head coach in August of 2007. He’s also worked as a tennis teaching professional at the Schroeder Tennis Center in Tipp City, Ohio.
“I’m going to be looking for good players, but players who are strong in academics and practice good sportsmanship,” Turner said. “You coach because it’s something you love to do, and when you have players who don’t act the right way on the court, it’s not fun. We will compete hard, but we’ll do it the right way.”