BEMIDJI, Minn. – The Bemidji State University Athletics community mourns the loss of long-time tennis coach, mentor and friend Mark Fodness. Fodness, who served as head coach of the BSU tennis team from 2013 to 2019, passed away suddenly Nov. 25.
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). During his time at the helm of the program, the Beavers were consistently among the top teams in the conference, amassed 58 victories (58-55) and assembled a string of four consecutive 10-win seasons, which included a program-best 12 wins (12-6) in 2017.
In addition, BSU has posted four consecutive winning conference seasons and qualified for the NSIC postseason in each of those seasons. The Beavers 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.
Under his watch BSU had 23 student-athletes earn a spot on the NSIC All-Academic Team and 17 players were 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.
Upon his retirement from the program in the spring of 2019, 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."
In addition to serving as the head coach of the Beaver tennis program, Fodness was a long-time teacher within the Bemidji school district where he earned Minnesota Teacher of the Year recognition and a spot in the Bemidji State Education Hall of Fame. He also piled up over 400 wins as the head coach of the Bemidji High School girl's and boy's tennis teams.
A celebration of life is being planned for June.
Current BSU Tennis Head Coach, Kyle Fodness, has established an email account to collect memories of his father and well wishes for the family. Send messages to: [email protected].