Tom Bates has been the MGA head coach for men's and women's tennis since the program began in 2013 in the NJCAA. In his first year, the men finished at 4-7 and women at 2-8. Since joining the NAIA, both teams have seen great success with each being ranked since the start of the 2015-16 year and each making an appearance in the NAIA National Championship (Women in 2016, Men in 2017). The men have achieved a ranking as high as 16 in 2017 while the women finished the 2016 season with a high spot of 8 and opened 2017 ranked 9. Coach Bates also won the 2016 SSAC Women's Coach of the Year.
Tom Bates arrived at MGA after spending several years at Wesleyan College. As the head coach of their tennis team, he was the most successful coach since Wesleyan joined the NCAA in 1999, including their very first conference championship semi-final appearance.
Prior to that, Tom spent 12 years coaching at public and private tennis facilities, including the last 5 years as a high-performance academy coach. During his time in private coaching, Tom assisted numerous players in receiving tennis scholarships to NCAA DI, DII, and NAIA universities. Tom has also coached players who have gone on to win ITF Pro Circuit events on the professional tennis tour.
Coach Bates believes in constant improvement as both a player and a coach, and can be found at various professional tournaments in Atlanta, Charleston, Hilton Head, Macon and more; networking with other coaches and players to learn the latest in professional training and match strategies. Tom emphasizes to his players that daily improvement should be all team members' goal, no matter how small the improvement. Time wasted can never be regained, so practice and match play should be a source of continual self-improvement. This philosophy applies to players and coaches. The mental game of tennis is equally important as technical instruction, and practice time is often devoted to the psychology of all sports and competitions, not just tennis.
Coach Bates is a lifelong tennis player, dating back to his days in South Florida. He is still an active league tennis player, has achieved a USTA ranking of #4 and #1 in Georgia for men's and mixed doubles; and maintains PTR tennis professional certification.
Coach Bates believes in balancing tennis with academics and places equal emphasis on both.
"Ultimately, our student-athletes are here to earn a great degree from a fantastic 4-year institution. We will win and lose matches, but at the end of 4 years, I want to proudly watch my players receive their degree. If I am able to do this, then that is what I measure success by."
MGA Record: 72-66