Evan Atkinson, an Elkhart County native who served most recently as head tennis coach at Northridge High School, has been named director of tennis at Goshen College, the GC athletic department announced Friday.Atkinson is a 2004 graduate of NorthWood High School in Nappanee and a 2008 alumnus of Taylor University in Upland, Indiana. He has coached at Northridge since the fall of 2009 and spent seven years as the head tennis professional at Eastlake Athletic Club in Goshen.
“We are thrilled that Evan will be joining our team,” said Josh Gleason, Goshen College athletic director. “He has a great understanding of the technical, physical and mental aspects of the game of tennis, and even more, has the ability and experience to teach those at a high level.”
Atkinson is a U.S. Professional Tennis Association-certified professional tennis instructor and has also completed certification toward a professional educator’s license in physical education. He won a sectional title as a high school senior in 2003 and coached three more during his stint at Northridge.
“I have always been impressed with Goshen College graduates and know them to be cultured and well-rounded individuals,” Atkinson said. “I grew up locally and attended many different events at the college over the years. I started my career working in the Goshen tennis community and I enjoy the small, Christian, liberal arts atmosphere. I think consistently performing at a high level both academically and athletically is paramount to maintaining a successful program.”
Atkinson will serve as Goshen’s first director of tennis following the retirement of men’s head coach, Stan King. Doug Gossman, previously the women’s head coach, will remain on staff as an assistant coach for the combined men’s and women’s program, while Atkinson will be considered head coach of both teams for record-keeping purposes.
“Beyond the tennis court, Evan is focused on the relational aspects of coaching and will be tremendous at developing our student-athletes academically and as people of character,” Gleason said. “He also has the detailed organizational skill sets that will serve him and us well in this new position managing and building both the men’s and women’s programs together.”
“I am passionate about developing relationships and witnessing growth and excited about the opportunity to have a positive impact on a student’s collegiate experience,” Atkinson explained. “As I take a step forward into my own coaching career, I am looking forward to overcoming challenges and creating new goals to advance our tennis program. It’s great to be reincorporated into the Crossroads League. I’ve always valued the NAIA environment of athletics and I am excited about the opportunity.”
Following a 2015 campaign in which the men set a record for most wins in a season, finished second in the Crossroads League, and are currently 28th in the national coaches poll, Goshen will release its schedule for the 2016 season in May with play set to begin in August.