New tennis coach receives stamp of approval

March 2, 2013 | 11 a.m.

Drew Fernelius quickly becomes a part of men's and women's tennis

Sports | Mary Polding for The Clarion

New tennis coach receives stamp of approval

Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Bethel Sports Information

As the spring tennis season begins, both the men’s and women’s programs have high hopes under the direction of new head coach Drew Fernelius.

Fernelius came to Bethel after coaching at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School and having a successful tennis career at the University of St. Thomas. He brings a strong work ethic and big goals for the programs this year. 

“We will take it one step at a time in an attempt to build a competitive program while also representing Bethel and Christ in the best way that we can,” Fernelius said. 

With his “one step at a time” approach, Fernelius has already established strong relationships with his players, capitalizing on the depth of talent within both programs this year. The men’s and women’s rosters are made up primarily of returners, including captains Lisa Scheevel and Steph Brown on the women’s side and captains Tucker Morris and Reggie Ronning on the men’s side. 

Both sets of captains have already expressed their approval and excitement for what Fernelius brings to the program, despite the shift in their senior years.

“Coach Fernelius is the kind of guy you want on your team, because he will do anything he can to help you play your best tennis,” Ronning said. 

Scheevel also noted his implementation of a step-by-step motto into their everyday practices, working to get 2 percent better every day. 

“This is really applicable because we are always trying to improve and we know that results come with diligence and hard work,” she said.

Scheevel also said the team thrives on Fernelius’ intense practices and fun attitude. This balance of humor and grace combined with passion and hard work seems to be exactly what the new head coach is about. 

“My most embarrassing sports story was probably leaving my tennis rackets and equipment at an opposing university school and having to try and get them back,” Fernelius said. “Unfortunately, I did this more than once, which led to a school newspaper article titled, ‘Fernelius loses everything but his tennis matches.’” 

Ironically, it seems as though Fernelius has nothing to lose going into his first season with the Royals. With the commitment and passion of both programs behind a new coaching staff, the men’s and women’s tennis programs are already starting to show what they’re capable of. 

The women pulled out a win at St. Scholastica last weekend 6-3, led by seniors Steph Brown and Kayla Wheeler, who were victorious in both their singles and doubles matches. The men came up short, finishing 2-7 despite strong wins from seniors Tucker Morris and Reggie Ronning. 

With their first indoor match out of the way, Fernelius and his players look toward an exciting season for Bethel tennis, keeping playoff berths in sight. 

“[We were] picked to finish eighth and ninth in the MIAC, so you would think that we don't have that high of aspirations, but I would disagree,” Fernelius said. “We have set a goal of making the MIAC playoffs and working hard ... each and every day that we practice and compete.”

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