BEMIDJI, Minn. – Mark Fodness has announced that he is stepping away from his role as head coach of the Bemidji State University tennis team, after seven years at his alma mater.
A 1982 graduate of Bemidji State and an accomplished coach at the high school level, Fodness returned to BSU in 2013 to take on the role of head tennis coach. He inherited a team that was 1-13 overall and posted a 0-11 record in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play in 2013. In his just his second season, the Beavers made a seven-win improvement (8-8) and compiled four conference wins (4-7). Since then, the Beavers have consistently been among the top teams in the conference, amassed 58 victories (58-55) and assembled a string of four consecutive 10-win seasons, which includes a program-best 12 wins (12-6) in 2017.
In addition, BSU has posted four consecutive winning conference seasons and has qualified for the NSIC postseason in each of those seasons. The Beavers have finished as high as fourth in regular-season conference play (2018), advanced to the NSIC Tournament semifinal in 2018 and posted 33 wins in league play.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished in the win-loss column, but I am most proud of the teams that we have had, the type of players we’ve been able to bring in and the way that we have represented BSU.” Fodness continued, “I may have put time and effort into this, but really, the key to our success has always been the players. They deserve a very large part of the recognition for any of the successes we have had.” He added with a smile, “They have earned those wins on the court.”
"The most difficult part of this decision had almost nothing to do with tennis or the competitive side of coaching, it was more about the interaction with the student-athletes,” Fodness said. “All of the athletes and coaches from the different teams at Bemidji State have been really great to work with and fun to get to know.
Since Fodness took the reins at BSU in 2013, the Beavers have had 23 student-athletes earn a spot on the NSIC All-Academic Team and 17 players have been selected for all-conference honors, including five-time All-NSIC pick Zoë Lindgren, who graduated in 2019 as the all-time BSU tennis wins leader. She totaled 39 career singles victories and 36 doubles wins, which included 32 wins as a member of the Beavers’ top doubles pair.
Bemidji State Director of Athletics Tracy Dill expressed gratitude to Fodness for his service to the university and its students.
“Mark Fodness has made a tremendous impact on the Bemidji State tennis program,” Dill said. “His work ethic and tireless dedication to each member of the team is evident in the individual and program successes over the course of his time here.
“There is no doubt that he is a great coach and is leaving the program better than when he arrived,” added Dill. “I would like to thank him for all he has done for BSU and wish him the best in retirement.”
For more information on the Bemidji State women’s tennis program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Multimedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).