Cullen Maksimowski, LSSULakers.com
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – Lake Superior State University has announced the signing of men's and women's tennis coach, Luke Ogren, to a four-year contract extension commencing at the start of the 2018-19 academic calendar year.
"Luke's multi-year contract reflects Lake State's commitment to building a talented, cohesive, and stable coaching staff," said LSSU President, Dr. Peter Mitchell. "By hiring and supporting energetic and creative young coaches, we believe LSSU will attract and retain strong student athletes and be very competitive in all our teams.
"As an alumnus, Luke has a special passion that is contagious. Under his leadership, LSSU men's and women's tennis will be a force to reckon with in the GLIAC."
A native of Escanaba, Mich., Ogren earned an associate's degree in business from Bay College in 2013 before going on to receive a bachelor's degree in business management from Lake Superior State University in 2015. Ogren was also a two-year letter winner on the Lake State men's tennis team.
Ogren, who just wrapped up his second full season as the leader of the Lake State tennis program has fostered steady improvement on both the men's and women's side with each team narrowly missing the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament this past season.
"We are excited to have Luke continuing to lead our tennis program," said Director of Athletics, Dr. David Paitson. "Luke is highly passionate about coaching tennis and equally passionate about Lake State. He has an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of the sport and also understands how to implement new ideas and strategies in his quest to improve team performance.
"As a Lake State graduate and letter winner Luke is fully invested in making Laker tennis a highly competitive program in the GLIAC."
The signing of Ogren to a long-term extension provides much-needed stability to a program that has seen more than six coaching staff changes in the last decade.
"First of all, I would like the thank Dr.Mitchell and Dr.Paitson for the opportunity to continue leading this program in the right direction," said Orgen, "I think the biggest thing with signing a contract extension is the current and future athletes knowing what coach they will be working with.
"It will be especially helpful with recruiting since in the past we've struggled with keeping people around. I know some of our current players have already had three different coaches. It will be nice for incoming to recruits to know they can expect to not be having that happen again."
Ogren has already found success on the recruiting front bringing in several impact freshman this past season such as AlexiAnn Drouin on the women's side and Diego Penz for the men.
Drouin compiled a team-best 14-2 singles record this past season with a 9-1 mark in GLIAC competition while garnering All-GLIAC First Team honors and was voted the GLIAC Women's Tennis Player of the Year. Penz posted and 8-8 record at No.3 singles and competed at the No.1 doubles position with Ieuan Lister finishing with a 7-9 mark.
"In my first couple years I have learned a lot about how recruiting works and better ways to get in contact with players I may be interested in," Ogren said. "I have seen a lot of different players that may not have been great on paper develop into very strong players. The experience really helps you to see what players have room for great improvement and which may be close to their peak already."
Last month, Ogren inked five athletes (three men, two women) to National Letters of Intent that he believes will have an immediate impact on the court and help both the men and the women compete with the top teams in the conference.
"The talent we are adding for next year definitely has me excited about the future. We also have some people that are already interested for the following year that could be high level additions to our teams."
With the extension, Ogren becomes the fifth head coach within the Laker Athletics department to sign a multi-year contract extension joining Steve Hettinga (men's basketball), Damon Whitten (hockey), Brandon Lokken (women's basketball) and Dave Schmidlin (volleyball).
"It is very exciting to see the stability across the board for our athletic department," said Ogren. "I think it will help all the teams when they compete as well as in the classroom. Having a consistent presence can really help to keep the stress levels down of the athletes."