Jun 24, 2019

Ninteman Stepping Down As Head Men's Tennis Coach

A Winning Tradition

  • One NWC Player of the Year (Spencer Watanabe, 2017-18)
  • One NWC Freshman of the Year (Luke Lemaitre, 2018-19) 
  • Seven Northwest Conference Tournament Appearances (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Eight All-Americans
  • 37 All-NWC Athletes

NEWBERG – Neal Ninteman, head coach of George Fox University's men's tennis program the past 10 seasons, is stepping down to focus on his role as a professor in the school's engineering program, Athletic Director Adam Puckett announced Monday, June 24.

Ninteman took the reins from Rick Cruz in 2009 and led the program to seven Northwest Conference Tournament appearances, including three trips to the NWC Tournament Championships, and pushed the team to its highest national ranking this season as the No. 27-ranked program at the NCAA Division III level.

"I am grateful for the extraordinary dedication that Neal gave to Bruin men's tennis over the past 10 seasons," Puckett said of Ninteman's tenure as coach. "As a full-time engineering professor, Neal sacrificed personally in order to build the men's program into what it is today. His passion and efforts have helped build a top-ranked national program and was a large influencer in the new tennis facility that opened this past year. Neal's contagious energy will be missed."

Ninteman finishes his career as the winningest head coach in program history with a 104-84-1 overall record and a 71-45 record against NWC competition. After inheriting a program that was perennially in last place in the NWC standings, Ninteman recorded six seasons with 11 or more wins and three second-place finishes in the NWC Tournament, including the most recent season in 2018-19.

"In general, this has been really rewarding, seeing the program develop into one of the premier D-III programs in the nation," Ninteman reflected. "We've been highly ranked in recent years. The most satisfying elements of my time as a coach have been the team's success and our individual successes as well. Seven all-Americans in the last three years, that's so special, and five ITA regional championships, after having none in the program's history when I started.

"I'm really proud to have helped establish a culture of excellence. We really worked hard to be the best we could be and to reach the highest heights we can. I believe the best days of Bruin tennis are still ahead and that we can see this team make the jump from the top-30 to the top-10 and even win a national championship."

Ninteman will remain at George Fox in his role as a full-time associate professor of civil engineering. "It was a challenge to juggle both, but I was very passionate about each one, which is why I held on to both roles for so long. I will miss coaching and being around the team, but this is the best for the program to continue to grow, and for my family as well. It was the right time to hand this off and watch it grow."