Illinois State men’s tennis head coach Mark Klysner encourages his team during a match. Klysner earned his 100th career win after he joined ISU in 2013.

College athletics have shut down due to COVID-19. Many coaches have had to adapt to new roles, including men’s tennis coach Mark Klysner.

To him, this was a completely unexpected outcome.

“Professionally, this has been something we as coaches could and have never prepared for,” Klysner said. “It has forced me to have to restructure my workdays and time at home and I guess the unknown of when we will be back to work and what we tell our players is the big question. Personally, it has given me a lot of time at home with family but at the same time I miss spending this time also with my team as this is usually the time of the year we are in conference play and the most important time of the season.”

Despite not being personally affected by potential recruiting issues, Klysner empathizes with other coaches and athletes going through logistical hardships.

“This has certainly made recruiting very different from what we are used to,” he said. “Personally, for me it hasn’t been too much of a big deal as I don’t have any essential recruiting needs for the coming year. It has been hard to see players who are committed elsewhere trying to figure out their futures …”

Klysner hopes that the team remembers the good times of the season and that they use those memories to keep them mentally afloat until next season. This remains a very unique and complicated situation.

“I’m not sure there is a perfect way of explaining or telling the guys how to handle this situation as it’s something we have never prepared for in terms of a speech,” he said. “But I try and remind the guys of how much we did get to play this spring and the amazing spring break trip to Puerto Rico we got to take … things that many programs didn’t get a chance to do before being shut down. As a team we just try and stay positive and reflect on the good memories of this past season and look forward to all the great moments ahead of us when this all blows over.”

The team was 11-7 before the remainder of its competitions were canceled.

MATT KALINOWSKI is a Sports Reporter for The Vidette. He can be contacted at mjkali1@ilstu.edu Follow him on Twitter at @mattkalinowski8

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