BEA grad leads the Huskers
It takes just one moment in time to change a person’s life often times, it’s a moment one will never forget.
And that’s exactly the case for a 1978 Blue Earth graduate, Scott Jacobson.
Jacobson is the head women’s tennis coach for the Nebraska Huskers tennis team, and has been for 23 years. This makes him the longest-serving coach in Husker history.
Aside from impressive longevity, he is also quite successful in his role. He has led his team to 16 winning seasons and earned his 300th career victory during the 2011-2012 season, which makes him the winningest coach in Husker?tennis history as well.
His love for tennis goes back a long way and he can remember the day it all started.
“I was 12 years old and was walking by the tennis courts in Blue Earth on a summer day,”?Jacobson recalls. “I saw a kid playing and it looked interesting so I asked him if I?could borrow his racket for awhile.”
During the spring of his seventh-grade year, he saw the tennis coach, Hal Schroeder, pass by. And, even though it was two weeks into the tennis season, Jacobson decided to ask the coach if he could still play.
“He said yes, and I will never forget that moment,”?Jacobson says. “Him saying yes changed my life dramatically.”
Coach Schroeder quickly became Jacobson’s mentor throughout his high school tennis career, encouraging him in more than just athletics.
“Coach was also a teacher,” Jacobson adds. “So, he was a mentor in the classroom as well as on the court.”
Schroeder always told his tennis players, “your true personality comes out on the court.” Jacobson still holds on to that motto, remembering that he needed to live his life admirably both on and off the court.
Jacobson took that motto and ran with it as he continued on after graduating from Blue Earth. He spent a year and a half studying at Waldorf Junior College, but admitted his heart and mind were not in it.
“I?couldn’t get my mind off of playing tennis,” he says.
So, Jacobson left Waldorf and headed to Phoenix, Ariz. to try to get into the pro circuit.
“There I was, playing against guys who were in the top 500 in the world, but to really get into the circuit I needed to be playing guys in the top 200,” Jacobson explains.
He decided to dedicate some of his skill and time to a camp held in St. Peter called the Tennis and Life camp. In his early years at the camp, Kerry McDermott, a fellow camp instructor, asked him if he would like to come help him coach tennis at the University of Nebraska.
And, although he had been trying out his hand in Phoenix, he decided it was the time to make the switch.
He served as assistant coach for the men’s tennis team for 10 years; he then became the head coach for the women’s team in 1991.
Throughout that time he continued to help out at the Tennis and Life camp.
In 1995, he was honored with the David Aasen Award for his enthusiasm, energy, high standards and a love for teaching and concern for others.
This award meant a lot to Jacobson as it was named after a very close friend of his from their time working together at the camp.
In fact, it was quite a coincidence because Jacobson was from Blue Earth and Aasen, who was originally from St. Peter, got a job teaching in Blue Earth. He also became the tennis coach, taking the role over from Hal Schroeder.
Unfortunately, Aasen was killed in a car accident in 1994 when he was just 25 years old.
“He was an amazing man, and an amazing coach,”?Jacobson says. “He loved teaching in Blue Earth.”
Just a year after the tragic accident, Jacobson was honored to accept the award presented in his friend’s name.
“I?try to remind my players that they can be gifted and selfless,”?Jacobson explains. “It’s important they remember it’s about ‘we’ not ‘me.'”
In his biography on the Husker website, he describes his coaching philosophy, “By helping our student-athletes develop the values of dedication, cooperation, compassion and the ability to handle adversity with courage, we help them grow as both tennis players and as people.”
“So, we try to recruit like-minded people to promote good team chemistry,”?he says. “That’s one of our main goals.”
That chemistry along with Coach Jacobson’s encouragement for success in academics, has helped break Husker records throughout his years as head coach.
In fact, during his first five years, Jacobson aided the Huskers tennis team to become a force in the Big 12 conference.
Then, in 2005, Jacobson was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year after he led his team to its first NCAA?tournament and an 18-4 season record.
“The last four or five years have been especially successful for us,”?Jacobson adds.
In 2010, they finished third in the Big 12 and had their first-ever victory at the NCAA tournament. That year, Jacobson was again the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
In 2012, Jacobson led the women’s tennis team to another school record a 24 win season. They also participated in a Big 10 Tournament for the first time.
This past year Jacobson outdid himself again, leading the team to its most successful season to date under his rein.
The team earned the highest rank in Husker?history midway through the season, reaching its peak at No. 6 and finishing at No. 16 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
They also went on to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament which is the farthest any team has gone in the program’s history.
And, Jacobson’s push for success in academics has shown as well. The tennis team has received many academic all-conference accolades, and from 2011-2013 they have received The Herman Award which is given to the team with highest over all GPA.
He devotes a lot of time to the team simply because he loves what he does.
“I don’t have to work a day in my life,”?he jokes.
And he does go back to his roots from time to time.
“My mother, Margaret, still lives in Blue Earth at St. Luke’s,”?he says.
His sisters Terri and Diane still live in Blue Earth as well. In fact, he was able to come back to visit for Thanksgiving this year.
“After we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am headed up to the Twin Cities to watch a national tournament,” he adds. “Might as well do a little recruiting while I’m there, too.”