Mark Fodness starts his eighth season at the helm of the Bemidji State tennis program in 2019-20.
In seven seasons, Fodness has built a program that has made an impact on the NSIC, entering the 2019 season selected No. 4 in the NSIC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
Under his watchful eye, the Beavers posted their fourth consecutive 10-win season in 2019, capping the campaign at 11-7 overall and 6-5 in NSIC play to clinch a spot in the league’s postseason tournament for the fourth straight year. Senior Zoë Lindgren and junior Ariadna Lopez-Simo each made their third appearances on the all-conference team, Lindgren earning All-NSIC Third Team Singles and Third Team Doubles and Lopez-Simo earning All-NSIC Second Team Singles and Third Team Doubles. The duo served as doubles partners and finished with a 6-5 mark, which included a 5-3 recorded versus conference opponents.
BSU advanced to the 2018 NSIC Tournament semifinal for the first time since the league changed to its current tournament format in 2010 with a 5-3 victory over Minnesota Duluth before it was defeated by Augustana. The Beavers ended the season with a 10-5 recored overall and a 7-4 mark in conference matches. At the conclusion of the season, three BSU players were selected for All-NSIC honors. Lindgren earned a spot on the league’s Second Team as a singles player, while sophomores Hannah Alme and Lopez-Simo each earned recognition as All-NSIC Honorable Mention singles players.
In 2017, led the Beavers to a program record 12 wins and a 6-5 record in league play to clinch sixth place in the league’s standings a spot in the league's postseason tournament for the second straight season. At the conclusion of the season, BSU received a record six All-NSIC honors. Senior Morgan Opp and Lindgren each earned a spot as Second Team All-NSIC singles and doubles players, while Alme and Lopez-Simo were each placed on the All-NSIC Second Team for doubles play.
Fodness led the Beavers to an 11-6 overall record in 2016, establishing a school record for wins in a season (11), surpassing its 1999 10-win, NSIC Championship season. BSU earned a berth into the 2016 NSIC Tournament as the seventh seed marking the Beavers' first appearance in the league's event since 2009. At the conclusion of the year, Morgan Opp was named to the All-NSIC Second Team after recording a 12-3 singles record in BSU's No. 2 and No. 3 singles slots and going 9-7 in doubles play, which included 12 matches (5-7) as a member of the Beavers’ No. 1 doubles pair.
During the 2015 campaign, Fodness led his squad to a 5-10 overall record and a 3-9 mark in the NSIC. The Beavers took wins over University of Minnesota Crookston (twice), Martin Luther College, Southwest Minnesota State University and University of Minnesota Duluth to end the season. BSU earned back-to-back wins of 9-0 against Minnesota Crookston and Martin Luther and then in its second meeting with UMC, the Beavers finished with yet another 9-0 victory.
After a 1-13 season in his collegaite coaching debut season, Fodness revamped his lineup and his team responded by going 8-8 in 2014. The seven-win improvment marked its best win total in 12 years and narrowly missed qualifying for the NSIC Tournament. At the conclusion of the 2014 campaign, the team's No. 1 singles player and half of its top doubles team and newcomer, Shaylin Prout, was selected for NSIC All-Conference Honorable Mention honors, marking the first time since 2009 that BSU had been represented on the squad.
Fodness is an accomplished coach at the high school level, coaching both the Bemidji High School boy’s and girl’s teams from 1986-1993. He began again in 2010 and continues to coach both teams today. During his tenure at BHS, he has led the girls to a 203-37 dual match record, while directing the boys to a 124-84 mark for a career high school record of 327-121. In addition to leading the Lumberjack girl’s to their first state tournament appearance in 1989, Fodness’s team have garnered numerous sub-region and conference titles, while directing individuals on to the state tournament. He was named Region 8AA Girl’s Tennis Coach of the Year in 1989 and again in 2014.
In addition, Fodness has been active coaching Bemidji youth soccer and baseball, while holding coaching responsibilities in football, basketball, baseball and speech at the middle school level and high school speech and debate.
A 1982 graduate of Bemidji State with a Bachelor of Science degree in social studies, Fodness earned a master’s degree from BSU in curriculum instruction, middle school emphasis in 1995.
“It’s a thrill to have the opportunity to come back to BSU in this capacity,” said Fodness. “I have a lot of loyalty to the University because it’s been such a great school for me. I see this as a great opportunity to help the women’s tennis program develop a tradition of success.”
Fodness and his wife Karen reside in Bemidji and have three children: Kyle, Adam and Halle.