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Jan. 27, 2012
Trinity University's tennis teams guided by the 'Brothers McMindes'
SAN ANTONIO - Two brothers are spearheading the tradition-steeped Trinity Tigers tennis teams.
Russell McMindes '02 and Jacob McMindes are the head coach and assistant coach, respectively, of Trinity's nationally ranked men's and women's squads.
The Brothers McMindes are in their third season guiding the Tiger men's squad and are beginning their opening campaign with the Trinity women.
According to Trinity's Director of Tennis Butch Newman - a former Tigers standout, national championship coach, and current Trinity Athletic Hall of Fame honoree - the tandem is destined for an auspicious career together.
"They bring a lot of synergy to the table," said Newman '65, who coached Russell McMindes, a member of the 2000 NCAA Division III national championship team. "The very best is yet to come, and it's a blessing for all the players who are part of this program."
McMindes was also the men's assistant coach from 2003 to 2009.
Since assuming command of the Tiger men in 2009, the McMindes brothers have led Trinity to two Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships and two trips to the NCAA national quarterfinals. Cory Kowal and Bobby Cocanougher, both 2011 graduates, captured the National Small College Doubles title, and advanced to the NCAA Championship match under their tutelage.
Last fall, four Tiger players - two men and women - qualified for the prestigious National Small College event in singles and doubles.
Both McMindes brothers, who are San Antonio Clemens High School graduates, set an excellent example for their players on the court and in the classroom. Russell McMindes, who was valedictorian at Clemens, graduated from Trinity with a degree in engineering science. He was an All-SCAC honoree during his playing days. Jacob McMindes, a player for Division II member University of the Incarnate Word, received a degree in 2009 in engineering management.
What makes this sibling team a coaching success?
"Jake and I have always had a dynamic and special relationship," Russell McMindes said about his younger brother. "He shares in my passion and is a great role model for the players. The players see that we complement each other. I respect him more than anyone else I would want to coach with. Because he is my brother, I can speak freely with him."
The two have played doubles together (winning the Green Tree Tennis Club tournament twice,) have also been teaching pros at the same locations, and have won coaching awards.
Jacob McMindes is also thrilled to be alongside his brother at the Trinity helm.
"I have always looked up to Russell, and tried to follow in his footsteps," the younger McMindes said. "He brings a good set of energy, morals, and values to the team."
The teams will play their matches at the newly renovated Butch Newman Tennis Center and the Al G. Hill Jr. Tennis Stadium. The season opens Feb. 1.