Small College Sports

Cedar Rapids' Brady Anderson enjoyed a remarkable tennis career

Ogden column: Coe graduate now moving on, but racquet won't be far

Coe College’s Brady Anderson returns a shot during his singles match in the semifinal round of the 2017 Iowa Conference men’s tennis tournament at Clark Racquet Center in Cedar Rapids in May. Anderson will enroll in graduate school at Iowa in the fall. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Coe College’s Brady Anderson returns a shot during his singles match in the semifinal round of the 2017 Iowa Conference men’s tennis tournament at Clark Racquet Center in Cedar Rapids in May. Anderson will enroll in graduate school at Iowa in the fall. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
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Eastern Iowa has produced some outstanding tennis talent over the years.

Brady Anderson is one of the best.

Anderson, who recently graduated from Coe College, was a state singles champion at Linn-Mar in 2013 and a state runner-up in doubles (with Trevor McCann) in 2014. He was a three-star recruit — yes, even in tennis they have a star system — who considered Iowa, Creighton and Gustavus Adolphus before joining Eric Rodgers’ outstanding program at Coe.

In his four years at Coe, he ...

• Set a school record with a 209-62 career record that included a 109-25 mark in singles and a 100-37 ledger in doubles.

• Won a school-record 30 singles matches as a senior.

• Won a school-record 57 matches twice (2015 and 2018).

• Qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships three years in a row. Only 32 singles players even make that field.

On top of that, he was ...

• Three-time Iowa Conference most valuable player and an eight-time all-conference selection.

• Coe’s first three-time Google Cloud Academic All-American, making the third team as a sophomore and the first team as a junior and senior.

• International Tennis Association Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winner as a senior. The Ashe award “recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level.” Anderson won the Division III national award for exhibiting “outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.”

Impressive statistics and even more impressive honors.

So what’s Anderson’s next move?

“I’m not sure right now,” he said with a laugh.

Like a lot of young athletes, Anderson dreamed of a professional sports career. Like a lot of older athletes, Anderson faces the reality playing in the pros is not going to happen.

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Anderson explained a player like Roger Federer — his favorite, by the way — has a 16 “universal tennis rating.” Anderson is a 12.

That seems close, but ...

“I’m not that close to being at that level,” he said. “For me, it’s a pretty good jump.”

He’s OK with that, too. He has some lofty goals for the future and actually does know, at least in the short-term, what’s he’s going to do.

He starts graduate classes at the University of Iowa in the fall, working toward his doctorate in statistics. He’s teaching tennis at Elmcrest Country Club this summer and would like to be a volunteer assistant at Iowa in the fall, using that statistical mind, and a program, to give players “interesting insights ... and improve their performance.”

He doesn’t want to coach, per se, but “I want to do something in sports.”

And his tennis racquet will never be far away. He’s been playing the game since he was 6 or 7 and will continue until “the day I can’t play any more.”

Anderson’s career has been a joy to watch, from his youth tournament success, to high school, to Coe College.

His coach at Coe summed up this remarkable career pretty well when nominating Anderson for the Ashe award.

“Brady stands as the epitome of a scholar-athlete,” Rodgers said in a news release from the school. “... Brady serves as an example of what one can accomplish in life through lessons learned on a tennis court. An excellent competitor, Brady first progressed in tennis by playing, then later added technical instruction. This gave him a much more flexible growth mindset; a willingness to adapt.

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“... In all aspects of his life, he applies himself, totally immersed in the desire to learn, to improve and become the very best he is capable of becoming. Like many Americans, Brady entered college as ‘outcome-oriented,’ but now revels in the process or journey. He certainly is poised to move on to the next phase in his life. He will be successful.”

Of that there is no doubt.

l Comments: (319) 365-8696; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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