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ISSUE 115 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/22/2002

For love of the game

By Various Contributors
Sports Editor

Friday, March 22, 2002

Scott Nesbit has been a fixture at St. Olaf College for over a decade. He has coached men and women’s tennis for 13 years now. Many people know of him but how many Oles really know him? He fell in love with tennis at a very young age. He started taking lessons in southern California at nine years old. He rode his talent to two team state championships and a state doubles championship his senior year at Edina East High School. Right away he liked the "equalizing" aspect of tennis. "Sophomore year my doubles partner and I were both about 5 feet tall and weighed under 100 pounds. We played these two kids who were 6 foot 2 and 220 pounds apiece and we just destroyed them. They would have beat us in any other sport, but the technical aspect of tennis serves as a great equalizer." He was drawn into coaching because he liked the team aspect of tennis and "there just isn’t much opportunity to play team tennis." After stints with Wheaton College (IL), Division I University of Illinois-Chicago, and North Central College (IL), Nesbit came to St. Olaf in 1989 to take over men’s and women’s coaching positions. Ann Leming and Kristi Carlson are his current assistants for women’s tennis. Mess: What do you like about the St. Olaf community? Nesbit: I really like the close-knit atmosphere of the college. Students play tennis because they love it. It is important to them, but it is not the only thing they do. I like that they are involved in other activities and are serious about their academic endeavors as well.

Mess: What has kept you here at St. Olaf so long? Nesbit: First off, my family and I are very comfortable with the community. We are actively involved in the community and really enjoy living here. I also prefer to coach division three athletes more then division one. I have had several fabulous players at St. Olaf, but all have had significant room for improvement. I love working with players and seeing them improve throughout their career. When I was coaching at UIC the players were pretty much set in their playing style and there wasn’t much I could do to change that. I also like that there is little travel so that I can spend more time with my wife and two daughters.

Mess: What are your fondest memories during your tenure at St. Olaf? Nesbit: As far as the men’s team goes, I would say the 1993 team. In 1992 we had a team with ten seniors who were all very talented and finished 2nd in the MIAC. I loved that team but my fondest memory was the team the following year in 1993 that finished 5th in the MIAC. None of the players had much playing experience because of the heavy senior domination from the previous year, but they went out everyday and competed to the best of their abilities and even won two matches that no one thought they had any business winning. My favorite memory on the women’s side was last season’s team. We were stacked with seniors who were great players, leaders, and most importantly, great people. They were just a joy to coach and loved every second that I was around them. Mess: What are the current expectations this year? Nesbit: The men’s team is getting stronger with every match and is currently 3-1. I like our depth and feel that we can play with anyone in the conference. This team is ready for anything that comes its way. The women’s team hasn’t won a match yet but they have overcome adversity and have a great team attitude. We have had some unfortunate injuries but this team competes every time they step on the court. They are continuing to improve and their positive attitude couldn’t be any better.

Mess: Do you see an end to your St. Olaf career?

Coach Nesbit: I take things one year at a time. My faith is very important to me and I feel this is the right place for me to be at this time. If that should change in the future I might move on, but I have no Division I aspirations and no immediate plans to leave St. Olaf. I love the college and the community and will continue to enjoy my time here as long as possible.

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