After a near five-year absence, men’s and women’s tennis will return to Northwest Mississippi Community College in time for the 2022-23 athletic season.
In addition, Northwest has announced the hiring of Will Irvin to serve as the head coach for both programs.
“We are excited for Coach Irvin to be joining the Northwest family,” said Northwest President Dr. Michael J. Heindl. “He is well-connected to the tennis community, is an accomplished player and will be a great colleague to our accomplished coaches and an excellent addition to our athletic department. He is the perfect leader at the perfect time as we start back our men’s and women’s programs.”
Irvin joins Northwest from the University of Florida, where he served as a ticket sales representative in UF’s Athletic Association. Prior to arriving in Gainesville, Irvin served as the Mississippi Golden Triangle Regional Director from April 2018 to May 2021, while also earning his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from Mississippi State University.
As regional director, Irvin was responsible for growing the area’s youth tennis involvement for the U.S. Tennis Association, making the Golden Triangle region the largest in the state in just two years. His involvement with the USTA spans back to 2014, where he served as a youth tennis coach in the Starkville area, providing lessons to players ages 10-15.
Irvin is also no stranger to the MACCC tennis landscape, as he played at Meridian Community College while earning his associate of arts from 2016-17. During his time with the Eagles, Irvin was one of six starters in individual competition, earning All-Region 23 accolades during his freshman season. He won individual singles championships during both seasons at Meridian, while the team earned back-to-back conference and region titles, along with a pair of bids to the NJCAA Men’s Tennis championships in Plano, Texas.
Irvin credits those who helped him as motivation to return to the coaching circles.
“I can remember being younger and just sort of being out there with a racket, not really knowing what I was doing like some of the other kids,” Irvin said. “But there were coaches and instructors that took the time to still help me anyway. I wasn’t always the strongest or most athletic, but I had heart and I wanted to win. I’m so appreciative of the coaches who gave their all to me, and this is a chance to flip the script and give back in the same kind of way. I am excited to come back to the state that I have called home and to coach in the conference that I played in.”
In addition to his tennis resume, Irvin also holds valuable experience in event operations, marketing and sales gained during his time as an intern in the facilities, sports marketing and event operations staffs at Mississippi State.
Despite briefly stepping away from the world of tennis, Irvin says he had several factors in his decision to choose Northwest.
“I had other offers to coach elsewhere, but what brought me to Northwest was the campus itself, along with the support and structure,” Irvin said. “I have been to several Division I towns and campuses, and Senatobia is comparable to many of those places. You can see the support and tell that people here truly care. I would argue that Northwest is the best community college in the state and it’s really impressive what they’re doing here. Northwest has strong leadership, and I am looking forward to not only building a program but building relationships across the institution as well.”
Northwest will begin play in Spring 2023 at the Ranger Outdoor Complex. The ROC previously served as the home for the tennis programs from 2013-17.
DeSoto County News Service – News Release