Senior tennis player recalls success

The Florida A&M men’s tennis team had an explosive start this season and fittingly so as David Jackson intends to go out with a bang.

Jackson, 22, a senior economics major from Indianapolis, Ind., will play his final season with the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship in his sights.

Although near the end of his collegiate tennis career, Jackson still remembers where it all began.

“I started playing tennis around the age of seven. My parents would go out and hit on the neighborhood courts and once I began playing with them, I started liking the sport and eventually grew to love it,” Jackson said.

The love and his dedication to tennis have allowed David to produce very impressive results throughout his career.

However, Jackson’s diverse set of athletic skills allowed him to excel on more than one court.

“Besides tennis, playing basketball was very special for me. In Indiana, that’s all we do,”

Jackson said. “I also have a love for the sport of basketball but I decided to exclusively pursue tennis after my freshman year of high school after having more success competing at the higher levels.”

This decision has had a major impact on Jackson’s life.

“Tennis has allowed me the opportunity to network and meet a lot of people. It has also opened up job opportunities that have allowed me to teach the game and earn a good amount of money thus far,” Jackson said. “After I graduate, I’d like to see what I can do on the Future’s Circuit and try to win some money playing professionally, but regardless, I feel like tennis is a sport that I’ll play until the day I die.”

Though a Rattler now, Jackson began playing college tennis at Vincennes University in Vincennes, Ind., where he proved that his decision to focus exclusively on tennis was a wise one. There, he won the 2008 National Junior College Athletic Association Championship and was a 1st team All-American.

After two years at Vincennes, Jackson transferred to FAMU in fall 2008.

“Tallahassee is very different from where I came from, but different in a good way,” Jackson said. “At Vincennes, I might only see 10 or 12 black students over the span of a normal day, but here it’s the exact opposite. I love the HBCU experience and would encourage other African-American students to attend a black college.” ?

Even after the transition of changing schools and adapting to a new team, David’s winning results would continue.

Last year, David was named to the All-MEAC Second Team and had an overall match record of 19-8. This season, Jackson reached the singles final and won the doubles competition with team mate, Michael Moore at the 9th annual HBCU National Tennis Championship.

Coach Carl Goodman recognizes David’s effort and is proud of his performance in the Rattler uniform.

“So far, David has done a tremendous job competing for us,” Goodman said. “He has brought a sense of maturity and a winning attitude to the team since he’s arrived. He’s very positive and has a lot of confidence. With three young freshmen this year, his experience and leadership will definitely come in handy.”

His teammates also appreciate David’s efforts and contributions to the FAMU tennis program.

Paul Paige, 22, a senior business administration student from Philadelphia, Pa., feels that Jackson has been a great teammate.

“David is a fierce competitor who always keeps everybody upbeat and energized,” Paige said. “He absolutely hates to lose and brings a confidence to the team because of his intensely competitive spirit.”

Jackson is pleased with his play so far and is very optimistic about the future of the FAMU men tennis.

“I really enjoy being a part of the ‘Fang Gang.’ We are definitely amongst the elite HBCU tennis teams and we’re in the process of becoming a top Division 1 tennis program as well,” Jackson said. “My time at FAMU has had a great impact on my growth as a student and a tennis player. Although it’s only been a year and a half, I’m now a Rattler for life.”