Guess who is the winningest sports team ever at a historically black college or university? Few would guess that the answer is the Florida A&M University men’s tennis team.
In fact, the men’s tennis team once ranked among the top 50 tennis teams in the nation, the highest ranking ever held by any HBCU team in Division 1 athletics.
The FAMU men’s tennis team also holds the honor of being the first black tennis team to attend the NCAA tournament, a place that senior team captains Kamau Murray and Noel Wadawu intend to reach again.
“We expect to at least win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship and go two or three rounds deep into the NCAA tournament,” Murray said.
“I expect for my teammates to come out and give 100 percent effort everyday and be intense every minute and every point.”
That is a leadership quality that assistant coach LaTrone Mason said Murray demonstrates everyday.
“Kamau will let you know and get in your face to tell you that you’re performing below expectations and you need to get it together,” Mason said.
The team’s rival is Hampton University, whom Mason agrees is the team to beat in this year’s MEAC.
“There is definitely no love lost between us,” Mason said.
For the last 12 years, the Rattlers and the Hampton Pirates have played each other for the conference championship. The Rattlers last won the championship in 2000.
One thing the men’s tennis team would like to see is increased support from students, faculty and alumni.
“This is no second-tier program. This is one of the best programs in the nation,” Murray said.
“Every year we bring in top recruits from inside and outside the nation, but we are still a hidden gem within the university,” he said. “It is not like regular tennis you see on television, you can come out and be rowdy. I encourage more people to come out and watch us play.”
Travon McCall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.