Lonestar tennis senior enjoys team’s camaraderie

Michelle Pollard

Michelle Pollard

It all starts with love.

South Dakota State University senior Thomas Chiu began playing tennis at the age of seven and still plays for the Jackrabbits today.

Chiu was active in several sports as a youngster in Sioux Falls but found his nitch and a passion for tennis.

“I always liked it because it is an individual sport,” Chiu said. “I have always enjoyed playing it and the competition that comes from playing.”

Over the years, Chiu has played, the Jackrabbits have seen marked improvement. This has been shown by the win/loss record and the finish at the North Central Conference championships. Chiu attributes that to coach Don Hanson.

Hanson, an SDSU graduate who also lives out of the country running a Christian orphanage for part of the year, has helped bring the team to a new level.

Prior to Hanson coaching the team, there was an assistant football coach who doubled as the Jackrabbit tennis coach. Chiu said that it was nice of him to do that because there probably would not have been a team otherwise.

“Coach Hanson knows more about tennis than anyone on the team. He’s been like a grandfather for us. He’s a really great guy and coach,” Chiu said.

Chiu has also impressed Coach Hanson over the past two years. Thomas has been a leader for the team both on and off the courts.

“I have expected leadership from Thomas and that is what I have gotten,” Hanson said. “He is a very quite leader, but he has a strong personality.”

On the court, Chiu plays in the number two singles position and is on the number one doubles team.

“Chiu’s game is about as good as its going to get,” Hanson said. “I am going to look for big things from him at conference.”

Chiu most enjoys playing tennis because of his teammates at SDSU.

“The camaraderie on the team is great,” Chiu said. “The team makes it really enjoyable for me to continue playing.”

Hanson sees Chiu as a leader off of the courts in the sense that he keeps the team close.

“The tennis team is a rather close mob, and he’s a reason why,” Hanson said.

Along with playing on the tennis team, Chiu is a leader on the SDSU campus.

“He is a very well-rounded person,” Hanson said. “He’s dependable and most of all, has a good sense of humor.”

Chiu is active in Kappa Si, the Pharmacy fraternity, ASP (an association of Pharmacy students) and is a Students’ Association senator.

Chiu plans to graduate in May 2003 and then go to Pharmacy school for two years.

While it all began with love, Chiu will conclude his athletic eligibility at the end of this season.