Moonen receives President's Award, looks ahead to next season
Updated: Nov 2, 2020
By William Stephenson
MTN Sports Director
Thursday night’s Raiders' Choice Awards recognized Tom Moonen of the MTSU men’s tennis team as the co-recipient of the President’s Award.
Moonen experienced the same abrupt ending of his season as every other athlete in the world due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the news from the NCAA that players would be granted another year of eligibility, Moonen decided he had no choice but to finish his tennis career at MTSU with a full season as well as taking advantage of furthering his education.
“I will be doing a one-year master’s in finance, so I will be 23 with all of my college done,” Moonen said.
He came to Murfreesboro to play for the Blue Raiders in 2016 where he immediately was placed at the number two spot for the team as a freshman.
“It was a little bit higher than I expected, but a win is valuable at any spot on the court,” Moonen said.
Prior to MTSU, he won three national championships in different age groups and has won several doubles championships.
Since arriving at MTSU, Moonen has become the team-voted captain since his sophomore year.
“This is a role that I am very comfortable in,” Moonen said. “I like being in the position to help the guys out.”
Head coach Jimmy Borendame places a lot of the success from the team in the past years on Moonen’s leadership as a player on the roster.
“Tom Moonen’s leadership skill set has been extremely helpful these past few seasons,” Borendame said. “Each year his skills have gotten sharper and now it feels as if he is an extra coach on the staff.”
Moonen’s impact on his teammates does not only relate to the tennis court. His people skills help him develop a bond between the players to help them adjust to a new lifestyle far away from home.
“He helped me a lot during this time here where I didn’t know where to go or how to play the college system,” said freshman teammate Patrick Kristensen.
Due to his leadership, Moonen and his teammates won their first Conference USA championship last season.
When the tennis season was cancelled by C-USA, Moonen had to decide how long he would stay in Murfreesboro before flying back home to the Netherlands to be with his family.
“I contacted my family right away. I kept them in the loop and kept looking at flights to come home, but I wanted to wait things out to see where the season was going. About two weeks after the Rice match was cancelled, I decided I wanted to go home before I was not able to. The first two flights I booked got cancelled, and the third one finally took off,” Moonen said.
Since returning home, Moonen claims he is eager to get back on the court to have a proper senior season. His talks with Max Rauch, senior teammate since the end of the season have been primarily about the growth of the team and how lucky they are to be able to play another year.
“We cannot have one good result and rest,” Rauch said. “The whole team has been hungry for more and Tom and I talked about the growth the team has had in the past years and it comes from the good team chemistry.”
Being a standout on the court is not the only thing on Moonen’s mind. His academic career at MTSU has been a priority with a personal goal to make the most out of the time he is given in school.
“I couldn’t tell you that I came into college wanting a certain rank or certain number of wins in tennis because I didn’t,” Moonen said. “I was just trying to keep a 4.0 as long as possible.”
As for his tennis career at MTSU, he has gather a collection of awards such as two first conference team in doubles, several second team selections, three academic medals, Intercollegiate Tennis Association scholar athlete in 2017, 2019 C-USA all-academic team, and now the President’s award for MTSU.
“There’s not too many things that I am too passionate about, but when that passion is there, like with tennis and athletics, I always go my 110%,” Moonen said.
After his final year at MTSU, Moonen plans to make his way into the world of business with help from his multiple connections he has made through his time at MTSU.
“I’m really excited to finish next year to get started in the business world,” Moonen said. “I don’t know what country it will take me to yet, but I am not country bound whatsoever.”
Moonen has a sitting career record of 67-60 in singles and 75-43 in doubles while at MTSU. He finished with a 14-9 in singles and 15-8 in doubles for the 2019-2020 season. The Blue Raiders finished this short season with a 13-5 record.