Men’s tennis makes history

Men%27s+tennis+makes+history

Alberto Conde, Staff Writer

When talking about making history at Presbyterian College, Coach Patrick Fediuk from the Men’s Tennis Team cannot be left out. Coach “Pat”, as he is most commonly known, really understands the sentiment of being a Blue Hose. Fediuk played tennis for PC when athletics were transitioning from a Division II to a Division I school. This transition should have been very challenging, but during his senior year, Fediuk and his team led by Coach Hynes made it all the way to the Big South Tournament Finals, losing a very close match to Coastal Carolina 4-3. The title would not come back home until years later when he became the Head Coach of the Men’s Tennis Team.

Fediuk returned from teaching at a tennis academy in Hilton Head to the place where some of his greatest memories and triumphs came — Presbyterian College. He served as an assistant coach for both Coach Adam Herendeen (former PC Men’s Tennis Head Coach and his best friend) and Coach Catherine Dunagan (former PC Women’s Tennis Head Coach). “It was a very scary decision moving here because Nicole and I were recently married, both with solid jobs, but moving to PC would be a significant pay cut and very little security.”

In December 2015, Herendeen got an offer to be the Head Coach of the Women’s Tennis Team at Furman. This was a very awkward and difficult time for a coach to leave since the tennis season starts in the spring. For the team, that meant competition would start without the person that prepared them for it and that guides you through the difficult times. The responsibility to lead the team was left to the assistant coach at that time, Coach Fediuk. “I took over the program in December 2015 as a new head coach. I admit that I made a lot of mistakes because of my inexperience. And it was a big responsibility. That team was very old, and they were all very loyal to the old head coach in a good way, and obviously Adam is my best friend so that is totally understandable.”

Starting the spring 2016 season, the PC Men’s Tennis Team was not doing as well as in the previous years. They were really struggling as they were trying to adapt to such a sudden change, and it was going both ways, from the coach to the players and from the players to the coach. “I thought it was a mix. I kinda didn’t know what I was doing as a new coach, and they were kinda loyal in a certain way, so I thought I had to connect with them a certain way. By mid-February, we were 1-8, so I felt like it was my fault. We had a really good team, but guys were not showing up for matches, and I did not have the team ready.”

Not everything went wrong for the team that year. They acquired some confidence and started having great results. They finished second in the league and went into the conference tournament ready to play Liberty University with great expectations. They truly believed they could fulfill their dream of being Big South Champions, something they worked really hard for. Sadly, the Blue Hose fell against Coastal Carolina, having three match points in their favor to win the Championship. “That is where it all starts. We got on the bus, and I think nobody said a single word during the entire way home. It was literally a silent bus ride. It was the longest bus ride of my life, but that is where the building blocks started. We had this theme of being resilient.”

The Blue Hose started a really strong 2016-2017 season, with their mentality and purpose really set into place. They had more consistent results that showed off as they won Big South regular season. “In our first team meeting that year, I remember telling the guys that it’s less about a goal — everyone’s goal is to win the league — but it was more about what you are willing to do to make that happen. What are you willing to sacrifice, how hard are you willing to work. How committed are you gonna be.”

The Blue Hose started strong during the Conference Tournament playing at Wake Forest’s home courts. They won in the quarterfinals against Liberty 4-1. Later in the semis, they kept their confidence and beat Winthrop 4-1. The following day on April 22 became a day that made history for Presbyterian College. PC won a really close battle against Campbell University 4-3 to win the first Big South Championship for the Blue Hose. “There was this indescribable moment when we won. It happened so fast, Jaime wins, we stormed the court, I go crazy, we get presented with our trophy, I get dumped with water, it all happened so quickly. I got a few texts from some of my friends asking how it felt. And I just responded like: I couldn’t believe it. I knew they had been through so much to get there, and I was just so happy for them.”

On June 24, 2018, Coach Fediuk became a father to John Michael Fediuk. Being a father has changed many things in his life. He now views situations with a different perspective and also has more responsibilities coming his way as a father. Now, Coach “Pat” is ready to face future challenges with a totally different young team that has many things to learn. “For me, it’s really important to make sure that that year isn’t the pinnacle of my coaching career. That it is not the best thing that is going to happen in my life. I’m a father now, obviously, my life is doing great, but my joys don’t come just from that one year stretch where we were able to win it. My purpose every day is trying to make people better, better people, and hopefully better tennis players, too.”