Augustana tennis coach celebrates 100th victory
The road to 100 career wins for Jon Miedema began with summers as a kid.
Miedema had access to free tennis lessons during those times, which, combined with older siblings helping guide him in the sport, led to a college playing career and an interest in coaching as well. It eventually culminated with his 100th career coaching win with Augustana on Sept. 10 when his Vikings women's team topped Illinois Wesleyan in Bloomington.
“It's an honor to reach a 100 wins at Augustana with the women's team,” Miedema recently told Rock Island Today. “It speaks to the great talent we've had and makes me think of all the special players I've been blessed to coach.”
His win-loss record as of Sept. 14 was 102-44, with this year's women's team holding a 5-0 record. Each of the teams he has coached in the women's and men's divisions have had winning seasons since he began at Augustana in 2011, according to athletics.augustana.edu. The women's team has increased its winning percentage from the previous season each year under Miedema starting with the 2012 campaign.
Miedema played tennis at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he earned first-team All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors and was team captain as a senior in 2005. While there, he taught tennis lessons as a freshman. Miedema was contacted a few years after college by a former teammate to inquire about teaching lessons to juniors.
“I started doing so and found I really enjoyed working with high school students,” he said.
Miedema was an instructor at the Michigan Athletic Club for three years, according to athletics.augustana.edu, as well as an instructor at a country club in Grand Rapids from 2004-06. Then, he was hired to help start a men's tennis program at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, while also being an assistant on the women's team. He spent one year there, 2010-11, before being hired by Augustana, where he has coached five total College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) individual champions.
“What I like best about coaching is getting the best out of the athletes,” Miedema said. “I enjoy working with college students and seeing them be successful in matches. To feel I had a small part in that is very rewarding.”
This year's team is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance, a CCIW tournament title -- the program's first conference championship since 1997 -- and a 24-8 match record, with seven letter winners from that squad.
“This team has a lot of talent, probably as much talent as we've ever had on our team,” Miedema said. “We have three seniors who have been a part of going to the NCAAs and winning conference, so for the most part it's an experienced group that's had a lot of success.”