April 23, 2008
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IOWA CITY, IA – Head Men’s Tennis Coach Steve Houghton has had the opportunity to coach many outstanding student-athletes during his 27 years at the helm of the Iowa tennis program. Few have exemplified the qualities of a role-model and student-athlete as has senior Bart van Monsjou.
When Houghton takes time to reflect on his years at the University of Iowa, van Monsjou, without a doubt, ranks near the top of the list.
“I have been involved here for over 30 years,” said Houghton. “He has definitely been one of the very top players.”
van Monsjou has worked hard and has improved each year to become a tremendous player. That’s a feat Houghton claims is not easy.
“Bart has evolved into a tremendous player. He had to work hard when he first got here,” added Houghton. “He has worked to get rid of his weaknesses and has made tremendous progress from his freshman to senior year. He literally got better every year. He showed signs of being a top player last year but got injured. This year, Bart is definitely one of the top players.”
Houghton also praises the effort Bart gives the tennis program.
“Bart is so even-keeled. Every day he gives all he’s got. We get the same thing out of Bart day after day which is great from a coaching standpoint.”
The senior has accomplished a great deal during his senior campaign. In doubles play, van Monsjou and fellow senior J.P. Ritchie finished the regular season ranked 56th nationally. van Monsjou ended the regular season ranked 79th nationally in men’s singles and has defeated six nationally ranked players along the way. In the fall he was the Big Ten singles runner-up. It was the highest a Hawkeye has finished since Tyler Cleveland won the event in 2000. In addition, he finished 15-6 in dual play at the No. 1 singles position, which ties him for the fourth winningest season all-time at the position.
Along with his long list of accomplishments on the court, van Monsjou has also enjoyed a successful career off the court.
“Bart is certainly one of the more popular guys on the team,” said Houghton. “He has made tons of friends at the University who have nothing to do with tennis. I think it’s a hard thing to do, when you come here and it is not your native language. That is a credit to him.”
A great student and person, the senior said it was Iowa’s industrial engineering program and Head Coach Steve Houghton that got him to Iowa from the Netherlands.
Being from Oirschot, Netherlands, the transition to Iowa City and being so far away from his family was difficult at first, but he has since gotten use to it.
This semester Bart’s brother Tijn has worked for the Athletic Department.
“It is fun to speak Dutch with Tijn,” added van Monsjou. “It is great having him here so that he can see where I have been the last four years. In addition, he now knows what I am talking about and understands the college environment better.”
As his time as a student-athlete winds down, van Monsjou noted a few things that he will miss the most when he leaves the University.
“Teammates. I will miss hanging out with and competing with them. Also, the social life here is great.”
Don’t worry about van Monsjou though; the industrial engineering major has a bright future ahead of him with a blueprint ready to go.
“After I graduate I want to play in some events to qualify for professional tournaments. I then want to get my MBA and get a job here or in the Netherlands.”
Bart van Monsjou and the eighth-seeded Hawkeyes will face ninth-seeded Purdue tomorrow (Thursday) in the first round of the 2008 Big Ten Championships. Competition is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex.
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