Fang Gang ushers in new era

The Florida A&M University Men’s Tennis team is anxious to avenge last season’s loss to the Hampton University Pirates in the semi-final round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship. This was the first time in 20 years the men’s team had not reached the finals. Despite the unfortunate end to their spring 2009 run, the team also known as the “Fang Gang” had a very successful season. Their 18-7 regular season record earned them a national ranking and the Rattlers also won the HBCU National Tennis Championship in Atlanta. Carl Goodman, the FAMU men’s tennis coach, is looking for either growth or immediate maturity for this semester. The team will play in about five or six individual tournaments to prepare for the team season and MEAC conference play this upcoming spring. “Most people think that we are in a rebuilding stage, but over the last 20 years I have dealt with the program, we have never rebuilt, we have reloaded,” Goodman said. “We’ve got a long way to go but we’ll take it one day at a time.” The Rattlers have a very young squad this year consisting of three freshmen, one sophomore, a junior and a senior. Team captain, Michael Moore, 21, a junior political science student from Harlem, N.Y., feels very similar to Goodman. “We are very young but we are very talented,” Moore said. “I feel like by the time the season comes around we should be a force to be reckoned with.” Senior David Jackson, 22, an economics student from Indiana also has an optimistic outlook toward the Rattlers’ chances this year. “I feel like this season is going to be a good one,” said Jackson. “It’s my last year so I’m going to go out with a bang. We have got new freshmen and transfers coming in spring so the sky is the limit.” The Fang Gang lost three seniors last year who were integral parts of the team’s success during their careers. These seniors were Paul Paige, a business administration student from Philadelphia; Artiom Podgainii, a physical education student from Chisinau, Moldova; and Simbarashe Happy, an accounting student from Mutare, Zimbabwe. These players will be sorely missed. Without them in the mix of competition, it is now up to the incoming freshmen to continue the story and begin writing a new chapter for the FAMU men’s tennis program.