Paired with a strong emphasis on discipline, Ferris tennis head coach Daniel Hangstefer has quietly become the writer behind a successful story for the Bulldogs.
There is no question that Ferris has built a strong tennis foundation over the past few years, with the team claiming a pair of 20-plus win seasons, two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular season and tournament championships, two Midwest region championships and a national semifinals appearance.
That success has become expected. Hangstefer has made sure it’s stayed that way. It’s tough when coaches are coming in through a revolving door but the players have bought in.
“Coach Hangstefer has brought a whole new dynamic to the team by focusing a lot more on the idea of discipline,” senior Simon Levy said. “I would say Coach Hangstefer is a lot more concerned with controlling the little things. The team is slowly but surely starting to adjust.”
After spending four seasons building Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado, into a successful program, Hangstefer came to Ferris and has done what was expected of him, continuing the success that the Bulldogs have become known for.
Things haven’t slowed down a bit with the coaching change. The Bulldogs are 20-2, GLIAC tournament champions for the third straight year and are riding a 17-game winning streak into the Division II Midwest Regionals this weekend.
Hangstefer has challenged his new players in all the right areas, channeling the same drive that past coaches have used to establish that success so frequently in recent years. A drive in the players that is necessary for the accolades they’ve gathered.
“Motivation, hard-work and discipline are key qualities that help build successful programs,” Hangstefer said. “I think we have a lot of motivated players on the team who want to win at a high level. It’s important that we continue to channel that motivation into positive hard work and discipline.”
Asking a new coach to continue the rich tradition of winning that Ferris has is tough but Hangstefer has answered the call. The Bulldogs now sit in a comfortable spot, so close to yet another Midwest region championship.
“We have to continue to practice and compete like champions that want to achieve something great. Our goal is to get to top 10 in the country. We are very close. If we continue to practice and compete at a high level, I believe the guys can reach that goal,” Hangstefer said.