By: CASEY McDONALD
Indiana University South Bend within the last few years has added a multitude of new teams: baseball, softball, cross country and golf, to name a few. But now, the athletic department is proud to announce the newest addition to the program: men’s and women’s tennis.
Coaches Jessica and Nick Simeri have been welcomed into the IUSB athletic family with open arms. Both coaches were born and raised in South Bend.
Jessica’s tennis career started competitively at the age of 10 where she began traveling to United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments. Working hard throughout her career, she found herself playing for her high school team at South Bend St. Joseph High School, where she earned the #1 singles spot as a freshman.
Jessica continued that passion as she earned the title of team captain her junior year, the same year the team won the Indiana State Championship. Other recognitions that Jessica received during her four years in South Bend include MVP her freshman year, all conference, all state, academic all state, and having been chosen for Indiana North South All Star Team.
After high school, Jessica chose Purdue University. She joined the tennis club within the first few weeks which, in her words, “truly changed my life.” She made the travel team as a freshman, and with hard work by her sophomore year, became the president of the club.
“I helped lead the team to nationals all four years, and my junior year we actually placed third in the Nation,” she said.
Senior year just brought more recognition as she was named both the Midwest and National Leader of the Year. Other recognitions include the Tennis on Campus Ambassador for Midwest.
After graduating from Purdue, Jessica continued to teach part time at South Bend’s Racquet Club and joined the USTA Tennis On Campus Midwest Committee.
Men’s coach Nick Simeri started his tennis career at the age of 7, playing under long-time coach and friend, Eric Mahone.
“I was a four-year varsity player at John Adams High School, earning First Team All NIC Doubles my senior year.”
Not only is Nick a native to the South Bend area, but is an alumnus of IU South Bend itself. He received his bachelor’s degree from IUSB and furthered his tennis career at the South Bend Racquet Club as an Assistant Teaching Professional.
During his time at SBRC, he coached the Elite Academy, which includes the top high school players in the South Bend area. He also leads adult drills in coaching a women’s USTA league team, cardio tennis and private lessons.
A married couple, Nick and Jessica have worked together to further their career, such as playing together as they currently hold the South Bend Metro Mixed Doubles Title. With that they also helped kick start Buddy Up Tennis, which is a tennis organization for children with down syndrome.
The IU South Bend tennis teams will start their seasons in the spring of 2018, but before that, the Simeri team have to recruit a strong team. Not only are the coaches using Tennisrecruiting.net, they have been contacting local high schools and spreading the word throughout IU South Bend itself.
The team will be using both John Adams’ tennis courts and The South Bend Racquet Club for their practices and matches as of now for the team.
The goal of their first year with the school is to field enough players for both the men’s and women’s teams, since they are such a new team.
“To win at least one conference match” is also something that they want to achieve for their first season.
The athletic department and the rest of IU South Bend is excited to add some new coworkers and coaches to our athletic lineup. If you are a student interested in seeing what these coaches have to offer, for the men’s team, contact Nick Simeri at firstname.lastname@example.org and for the women’s team, contact Jessica Simeri at email@example.com.