The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hagan leaves lasting legacy at Iowa

Matt Hagan has been through a lot during his time as an Iowa tennis player.

Through two different head coaches and three assistant coaches, Hagan endured it all, with plenty of success along the way.

His biggest success came during his senior season, when he was named First Team All-Big Ten and team MVP, all while mentoring the young team he led.

After a two-win freshman year, Hagan finished his senior year with 30 career singles wins. He finished the year ranked No. 125, having climbed as high as No. 79.

“I’m really happy with how this past year went,” Hagan said. “Especially with the different honors I’ve received, it was extremely special.”

In his four years on the team, Hagan witnessed a transformation in the program. His senior season was the best for the Hawkeyes in recent memory, and there is a new sense of hope in the program, something Hagan is proud to be a part of.

“Being a part of this program is really special,” he said. “We won five Big Ten matches this year. To do that is awesome. I can say I was a part of the Ross Wilson turnaround at Iowa, and that is special.”

The senior did more to help the team than just produce at the top of the lineup, however.

Hagan’s teammates praise him for what a great leader he is, and freshman Jake Jacoby noted the help Hagan gave him off the court.

“Matt is great,” Jacoby said. “He really helped me adapt to college tennis and the college lifestyle. The transition was easy with him helping. Without him, I wouldn’t have had as much success.”

With a team full of fiery young players, Hagan was not the type to show his emotions on the court. The most emotion seen out of the stoic senior was a fist pump after a monster serve or forehand down the line.

Regardless, Hagan was still the undoubted leader of the Hawkeyes.

“I hope I was a good leader for my teammates,” Hagan said. “I maybe wasn’t a raw raw guy, but I tried to lead by example, showing that you can work hard and win a lot of matches that way.”

Interim head coach Ross Wilson had high praise for his senior star all year, saying he would not want anyone other player to help start the new era of Hawkeye tennis.

Wilson’s first year was 2014-15 season, and Hagan was the guy to headline the coach’s first lineup.

“Matt’s expectations are really high for himself,” Wilson said. “The high-pressure matches that Matt plays in says everything about how good he is and how good he will be. He wants the moment.”

Hagan leaves the Iowa tennis program in far better shape than when he came in, and he should be very proud of that.

The turnaround started with him, the first All-Big Ten performer under Wilson. Because of Hagan, the young players on the team have someone to look to in order to see what it takes at the college level.

“The earlier part of my career was definitely rough,” Hagan said. “But leaving now, I wouldn’t change it for anything. It was an awesome ride.”

Follow @B_Dows4 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis on the Iowa men’s tennis team.

More to Discover