Sports

Tennis finds new leader with incoming coach

Paul Pautsch, John Brown University’s new men and women’s tennis coach, has been coaching tennis ever since his first gig in 1976, approximately 37 years altogether.

Pautsch started playing tennis when he was about seven or eight years old. He came from a small town, and was involved in many sports: baseball, football, hockey, and tennis.

“I thought I was a better baseball player until I played in college and found I was mediocre,” Pautsch said.

While Pautsch was in the military, at age 24, he decided tennis was his passion.

Robyn Daugherty, JBU’s athletic director, said, “Paul will save us from the growing pains of our tennis program because of his wealth of experience.”

Pautsch’s family is also involved in tennis; his 12-year-old granddaughter is ranked in the top ten in Arkansas.

Alex Baker, a sophomore on the tennis team, said that Pautsch can tell you exactly what you need to do to win. Pautsch also has the training and knowledge to help the players achieve their goals, Baker added.

“He is a great Christian man that cares not only about tennis, but your growth as a human being and a Christian,” Baker said. “He is a great mentor on and off the court.”

Pautsch said his faith in the Lord grows every day.

For the last 20 seasons, Pautsch coached for the Bentonville High School tennis teams. About 10 seasons in, Pautsch started a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle there.

The coaches met every Wednesday morning, and Pautsch decided he wanted to start up a huddle, a team Bible study, for the tennis team.

During his time in Bentonville, he sent kids to leadership camp and had anywhere from 25 to 30 kids show up every Wednesday for the tennis team’s Fellowship huddle.

“Tennis is basically my life, and I believe it is a call from God that I am here at JBU,” Pautsch said.

Upon getting the coaching job at the University, Pautsch was approached by junior Staci Williamson about helping out with the Fellowship here.

“It was a blessing to get in touch with someone with experience,” Williamson said. “FCA is student led, but Paul is there for us.”

The University’s chapter, which is made up of one leader from each athletic team, meets every Wednesday.

“Having someone committed will help us establish leadership,” Daugherty said.

Feb. 27 was the chapter’s third official meeting.

Paul gave Williamson the idea of having structure within the Fellowship, and that is when they decided to set up a committee.

“We were both brought to JBU by a sports team, but FCA is proving to become more prominent,” Williamson said.