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Gustavus Adolphus College - Recruiting Info


‘04 Men’s Tennis Program


OUTSTANDING VARSITY RECORD:  The 2003 team won its second consecutive ITA National Indoor, finished third at the NCAA III tourney, won the MIAC Conference Championship for the 31st time, and extended their conference dual match record to 278-1.  Individually Kevin Whipple defaulted to Eric Butorac in the NCAA III singles final.  Then they teamed to win the NCAA III doubles title and the ITA doubles title for the second straight year.  Also Whipple became the second Gustie to be named national Senior Player of the Year, and Butorac became the fifth Gustie to receive the national Arthur Ashe Award for sportsmanship, scholarship, humanitarian concerns, and playing excellence.


Since 1970 the team has won two NCAA III team championships, eight national doubles championships, and four national singles championships. Shaun Miller holds the record for national championships: two team titles, two doubles titles, and a singles title. Previous NCAA III singles finalists were Ryan Skanse (92), Todd Bowlby (96), Eric Butorac (01) and Kevin Whipple (02).  In 2000 Matt Lundmark and Michael Hom reached the NCAA III doubles final and led the Gustavus team to second place for the 5th time. Every year since 1995 the team has finished among the nation’s top five NCAA III teams.   


37 ALL AMERICANS: Dave Kubes (72), Dave Petersen (73-75), Tim Butorac (73-75), Kevin Ylinen (75), Rick Deming (75), John Mattke (77-80), Paul Holbach (77-80), Dick Schneider (79), Dan Westlund (79-80), Jim Hearn (80-82), Shaun Miller (80-82), Per Ekstam (81), Rich Skanse (82-84), Duke Paluch (83-84), Mark Kruger (83-84,86), Bill Sternard (83-84), Mayank Capoor (84), Riley Horan (84), Raman Jayapathy (84-85), Jim Allen (86-87), Ulf Gudjonsson (87,89), Dave Jussila (89-91), Ryan Skanse (90-92), Gordon Reid (91-92), Joel Lobland (91), Ryan Howe (94), Paul Jeffries (94,96), Ryan Haddorff (95), Noel Stout (95), Todd Bowlby (95-98), Ryan Dussault (98-99), Matt Lundmark (99-00), Mike Hom (00), Nick Crossley (01), Josh Heiden (01), Eric Butorac (01-03), and Kevin Whipple (01-03).


NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED COACHES: Head Coach Steve Wilkinson was named national coach of the year in 2003 for the fifth time. From 1980 to 1993 he served on the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Executive Committee representing Division III.  As a player he has been top ranked in the United States in singles and doubles in the 45’s, 50’s, 55’s, & 60’s divisions.  Steve represented the US on world cup teams that played in Uruguay, Argentina, Germany, and Australia.  As tennis pro he served on the USPTA National Executive Committee from 1976 to 1993.  He received an MBA in finance and a PhD in Asian Religions, and now teaches sports ethics at Gustavus.  Since 1977 he has directed Tennis & Life Camps, helping 1,800 students each summer develop tennis skills and a sportsmanlike approach to athletics.


Assistant Coach Ryan Dussault has worked for the tennis program since he graduated from Gustavus in 1999.  At the same time he has been tennis professional in Milwaukee, and now at the Flagship Athletic Club in Eden Prairie.   While playing for Gustavus Ryan earned All American honors in 1998 and 1999, reached the Rolex national doubles final, and was ranked #2 in the nation in NCAA III doubles.  


CHALLENGING NATIONAL SCHEDULE:  In early February the team opens the spring season with a week of training in Kauai and matches against Division II national champion Brigham Young-Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific.  On the last weekend in February Gustavus again hosts the ITA National Indoor, a tournament we have won for the past two years. In early April the team flies to Los Angeles to play six of the best California teams. In the middle of April the team travels to Milwaukee to play Kalamazoo College, our traditional top rival in the Central Region.  The season ends in May at the NCAA III national tournament at Bates College in Maine.


OPPORTUNITY FOR OVERSEAS STUDY:  Since 1988 team members have traveled during the January term to South Island in New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and Hawaii.  The 2004 class on sports ethics will include a week at the Australian Open with the opportunity to interview Australian spectators on sportsmanship attitudes. During the school year team members have recently studied in Russia, India, Sweden, England, Scotland, and Spain.


“STATE OF THE ART” FACILITIES:  The Swanson Tennis Center (STC) offers a striking indoor tennis environment.  Six beautiful Plexi-pave courts with natural or indirect lighting, a 65 foot ceiling, and bright green colors produce an outdoor summer feeling for the entire year.  Spectator viewing above and behind each court makes the facility perfect for collegiate championship competition. 


The outdoor Karen Gibbs Tennis Center features nine courts that are carved out of the hillside.  A grandstand features the main court.  Beyond lie beautiful views of the Minnesota River Valley and the historic town of St. Peter.  Eight more new and beautifully designed courts named the Brown Outdoor Tennis Complex are located directly in front of the Swanson Tennis Center.  Three more South Courts are located at the southeast corner of campus, giving the college 20 outdoor courts. 


CONVENIENT PRACTICE OPPORTUNITIES:  Organized varsity practices last two and one half hours in the late afternoons on weekdays during September and October, and from late January until May.  Intensive drilling, conditioning, strategy, stroke mechanics, and the mental game are emphasized.  Players use superior ball machines that produce topspin, slice, and speeds up to 100 m.p.h.  The availability of the Swanson Tennis Center guarantees daily practice regardless of weather.


Occasionally classes, labs, and tests conflict with practice.  Academic commitments take priority, and so players sometimes must be absent.  Finding alternative times to practice is easy when STC is open until midnight each day.  If an opponent should not be available, the ball machines are ready, only a few minutes walk from the dormitories.


INTERCOLLEGIATE COMPETITION IN THE SPRING SEMESTER:  The varsity schedule begins in February and ends in May with the NCAA III national tournament.  All fall competition is on an individual basis, including the ITA regional and national tournaments in October.  Without team obligations students can take heavier class loads, travel abroad, or do other things in the fall.  By restricting team competition to one semester, academic goals can be reached easier.  



NO ATHLETIC SCHOLARSHIPS: Seventy percent of Gustavus students receive scholarships based on financial need, not playing ability.  They can drop tennis because of academic demands, international study, or job internships.  The absence of athletic scholarships decreases tensions between players, reduces the pressure to win, and helps tennis remain a fun, lifetime sport.


HIGHLY RANKED STUDENTS: The average ACT score is 26 and the SAT is 1225.  Thirty-six percent of our students are in the top 10% of their high school class while 70% rank in the top 25%.


SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FRESHMEN: Fifty freshmen qualify each year for $36,000 awards that can offer recipients individualized faculty mentorship and research experience.  Candidates usually rank in the top 5% of their high school classes, and score 32 or above on the ACT exam. 


PERSONALIZED ENVIRONMENT WITH DIVERSE OPPORTUNITIES:  The student faculty ratio is 13/1.  Fifty per cent of our students study abroad in programs located in 42 countries.  The internship program is generally considered one of the finest in the state in terms of the quality of work our students undertake and the variety of placement sites. Our Nobel Conference, the first one authorized by the Nobel Foundation of Stockholm, brings Nobel laureates and scholars to campus to discuss issues of global significance.  The January Term encourages students to immerse themselves in other cultures and real work settings.


EMPHASIS ON ACADEMICS:  At Gustavus tennis players begin their freshmen year in small classes taught by professors who rank teaching as their top priority.  They assign writing and research projects, and then take the time to personally help their students improve their writing and analytical skills.  The editors of The National Review Guide To America’s Best Colleges wrote, “While a number of schools have taken to boasting about their ‘writing across the curriculum’ programs, Gustavus Adolphus appears to actually take writing seriously.”


Professors personally know their students both in and out of the classroom.  They are concerned about their academic and social progress.  Consequently, 91% of freshmen students return to Gustavus their sophomore year, and 80% of our first year students graduate together in four years, compared to a 58% state average. 


ARTHUR ASHE AWARD, SYMBOL OF DIVISION III EXCELLENCE:  Each year one person in the country in Division III receives this award.  It is based on outstanding scholarship, sportsmanship, tennis playing, and humanitarian concerns.  Candidates write essays that explain their philosophies of life, and their coaches write recommendations.   Five Gustavus players (Rich Skanse (83), Per Ekstam (84), Ulf Gudjonsson (89), Ben Lipari (99), and Eric Butorac (03) won the national award.  Conference award winners have been Rich Skanse (83), Mark Kruger (86), Ulf Gudjonsson (88), Paul Gustafson (92), Andy Schmidt (97), Tommy Valentini (01), and Daryn Collins (02). Central Region winners have been Matt Lundmark (00) and Tommy Valentini (01).


PURSUING ASHE IDEALISM AFTER GRADUATION:  Ulf Gudjonsson came to Gustavus from Kenya where he remembered “children with festering sores on their legs and arms, distended stomachs, ...and looking three to four years younger then they actually were.”  Ulf graduated from Gustavus in three years, and now is pursuing a medical career.  He wrote, “By becoming a doctor in the Third World, I hope in my own small way, to address the needs of people who have so little, while I have so much.”


TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES FOR PLAYERS:  Many Gustavus players teach at Tennis and Life Camps.  An early summer training program and constant staff supervision help new teachers develop human relations and teaching skills quickly.  The camps serve approximately 1,800 adults and juniors each summer.  They offer a holistic approach to tennis that stresses nutrition, sportsmanship, competitive attitude, self-esteem, strategy, conditioning, and stroke mechanics.


WHAT AN NCAA CHAMP SAYS ABOUT THE PROGRAM:  Ryan Skanse, 1991 NCAA III champion in doubles and 1992 finalist in singles wrote:


“When I first came to the Gustavus tennis team I needed to win.   I had learned that wanting to win more than anybody else would equal victory in any competitive event.  This was supposed to be the driving factor that would allow me to play to the best of my ability. However, only within the past two years did I realize that this attitude had adverse side effects not only on me, but on my opponents as well.


Tennis was really never that fun for me and there were numerous times when I thought that quitting would be the most logical answer.  When things were not going my way, I would become so enraged on the court that afterwards it scared me to think that my emotions could control me in such a way.   What was I doing wrong?  After struggling with this for many years, the answer I found has had the most impact, not only on my tennis game, but on my life as well.   I found that wanting to win more than anything produced the result of needing to win at all costs.  My self worth was based on being a better tennis player than someone else.   When I lost I felt like a failure.  But when I won, the sun had never shined so bright.


Finally I have come to understand that tennis is just a game meant to be enjoyed, not an activity that means life or death.   The lesson I am learning is to put tennis into life’s proper perspective.   I now realize that respecting my opponent and giving it my best effort, rather than winning or losing, is the true meaning of tennis.


It is important for me to understand that continued perfection is an extreme rarity in a game of such precision.  I tell myself before each match that I am going to miss some shots.   Doing this takes the pressure and frustration off when I miss in a crucial situation. Ironically, by taking out the need to win and the fear of losing, I am now winning more than I every have.


This new attitude has been influential on my life.  It seems that life is just like a game of tennis.  People are competing in all aspects of life.  Therefore the principles of competing on the court can be applied to life’s daily challenges...The growth I have experienced in collegiate tennis is to realize the enjoyment of the game.  Now, every time I step on the court, it is possible for me to win, regardless of the final score.  After four years of collegiate tennis, I can truly say, for the first time in my life, that I love the game of tennis.”


PLEASE VISIT US!  You can talk to the Admissions Office, attend classes, tour the campus, and visit with professors.  Meet with Coach Steve Wilkinson, talk individually with the players, watch a tennis practice or match, and perhaps stay overnight in a dormitory room.  Call Coach Wilkinson at 507-931-1614 or 1-800-GUSTAVU (S) or write to Admissions, Gustavus Adolphus College, and 800 W. College Ave, St. Peter, MN 56082.  For more current information on Gustavus or the tennis program, please visit the Gustavus web site at  Go to athletics, men’s tennis, and the men’s tennis team home page.