Since the addition of Juan Nunez, the director of men’s and women’s tennis, the program has been shaking things up in the athletic world of ACU. Nunez and the other coaching staff added a total of six players.
Of those six only two come from Texas with the rest all being international students. On the women’s side, both freshman Eva Arranz and freshman Paula Garrote come from Spain.
“The staff looked at the recruiting process more in the view of what do we want out of this program,” Nunez said. “We wanted high-energy and high-intensity players. They’re tennis rats, it’s the mentality of they want to be on the court. We don’t have to beg them to be on the court, and they have that passion, drive, and discipline.”
For the men, there are five additions to the roster with two coming from Texas. Freshman Daniel Morozov is from Latvia but originally grew up in America before moving to Europe. Two new players from the U.S. are freshman Tyler Stewart and freshman Benjamin McDonald. Stewart has family ties to the Wildcat tennis program with graduate student Allison Stewart being his older sister.
The last two additions to the men’s team are both international students. Freshman Cesar Barranquero is from Villaescusa, Spain and sophomore transfer Dario Kmet is from Sydney, Australia. Kmet transferred from McDonald College in North Strathfield, Australia.
With all these new additions, a significant impact has been made on the program.
“Juan has brought in a lot more international players,” said senior Oswaldo Cano from Zacatlan, Mexico. “We brought in five new men’s players ranking 11th best recruiting class in mid-majors.”
Along with having a significant impact on ACU’s tennis program, interest in ACU has skyrocketed in the area that the international student-athletes are from.
“Having people from different countries is great for the program,” said Maryjoe Crisologo, a sophomore from British Columbia, Canada. “It causes our communities back home to ask and know about ACU.”
Before Nunez became the director of men’s and women’s tennis, he was an international student-athlete on ACU’s tennis team. Nunez’s home country is Mexico and prior to attending ACU, was ranked top four in Mexico for boys 16s singles and top 50 in Mexico’s professional rankings.
He began his collegiate at ACU in 2005 and started coaching from 2009-2015. He chose to take a break from coaching and became a transfer admissions counselor for the university from 2016-2019 before returning to the tennis program where he now sits as director of tennis.
“An opportunity like this isn’t unusual for someone who grew up in the United States,” Nunez said. “But for people that grew up outside of the U.S., there’s not an opportunity like this anywhere in the world. To have the opportunity to play collegiate sports and get scholarships for it, but then you add on top of that the opportunity that students have here to not just play D1, but also get a great education.”
A notable ACU tennis alum by the name of Hans Hach resembles this in his life. Hach was a foreign player from Culiacan, Mexico playing at ACU from the 2010 season until the end of the 2012 season. Hach is now ranked 107 in the world as of November 8, 2021.
With Hach’s recent success, people internationally have someone to connect to ACU’s tennis program, especially since Hach sometimes plays around the world in an ACU tennis shirt.
Through the reach of ACU tennis alumni and admissions, Nunez and the department of athletics have been able to reach out and bring multiple international students to ACU, which is something Nunez is grateful for.
“We truly couldn’t do this without admissions and the help of everyone from ACU,” Nunez said. “They have been behind us every step of the way. This has not been a one-man job and I can not thank them enough for their support.”
The men’s tennis team will begin the 2021 season at Texas Tech on Jan. 13, while the women’s team will begin their season on Jan. 15 as they head to Texas Christian University.